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Volcanic eruption coats Japanese city with ash

Residents in a southern Japanese city are busy cleaning up after the most recent volcanic eruption. Citizens living near the Sakurajima volcano in Kagoshima are accustomed to volcanic eruptions, but the one that struck Sunday afternoon impacted the region with record-setting ash. Ash floated up to three miles above the Sakurajima volcano, the highest plume recorded since the Japanese Meteorological Association started keeping records in 2006. The volcano became active in 2006, which is why records were not kept before that time. As with many eruptions, lava flowed down from the eruption for about half a mile and several large rocks tumbled down the mountainside.

In the town, where volcanic activity is normal, it was business as usual on Sunday afternoon– with a few exceptions. Residents wore masks and raincoats and used umbrellas to try to shield themselves from the falling ash. Drivers were forced to use their headlights to be able to see through the ash-filled air, and railway service was temporarily halted so that ash could be removed from the tracks. No injuries or damage have been reported because the eruption, UPI notes. Monday morning the air was already clearer as masked residents cleaned up. The city was in the process of deploying garbage trucks and sprinklers to assist in cleaning up the ash.

Life went back to normal Monday with the simple exception that there were many residents still in gas masks as the ash was coating the houses and cars.

“The smoke was a bit dramatic, but we are kind of used to it,” a city official told the India Times.

The eruption Sunday was the 500th eruption this year. While the situation is not ideal, residents are accustomed to having to make accommodations to deal with the ash. Officials say that there are no signs of a larger eruption but that volcanic activity may continue. Officials say that residents should not travel near the volcano for their safety. For residents accustomed to frequent eruptions, the volcano’s activity means being prepared at all times.

Japan’s location on the “Ring of Fire” means that it is situated on prime seismic fault real estate. As a result, it is frequently impacted by earthquakes and volcanic activity.