Residents are being evacuated from Kuchinoerabujima island after authorities warned Aug. 15 that an eruption at the Kuchinoerabu volcano could be imminent.
Kuchinoerabu is located to the south of Japan roughly 1,000 km south-west of Tokyo and has experienced a dramatic uptick in volcanic earthquakes and increased sulphur emissions recently.
The Japan Meteorological Agency raised the alert level to 4, which calls for evacuations, from 2, which cautions against approaching the crater of Mount Shindake.
The decision to raise the alert was made after 26 volcanic earthquakes were detected within just a few hours.
The agency urged islanders to exercise extreme caution against possible pyroclastic flows and falling volcanic rocks within a 3 km radius of the crater.
Kagoshima prefecture authorities are laying on ships and helicopters to transport the residents.
On May 29, 2015, an explosive and phreatomagmatic eruption at Kuchinoerabu generated an ash plume that rose 9 km (29,599 feet) above Shindake Crater’s rim and drifted ESE.
That eruption scored a VEI 3.
The largest known eruption at Kuchinoerabu was in December 1933, at VEI 4.
This volcano has an explosive history, correlating with solar minimums.