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Japan volcano erupts with big blast of ash, rocks

TOKYO (AP) -- A revived volcano in southern Japan erupted Tuesday with its biggest explosion yet, shooting out a huge plume of gas, boulders and ash and breaking windows 8 kilometers away.

The danger zone around Shinmoedake volcano was widened to keep residents safe. The largest eruption since it burst back to life last week covered wide areas in ash, shot boulders onto distant roads, knocked down trees and broke hundreds of windows in hotels and offices.

No serious injuries have been reported since the initial eruption last Wednesday, but public broadcaster NHK said a woman suffered cuts from shattered glass in Tuesday’s blast.

NHK said the eruption was five times larger than the initial activity last week, which was Shinmoedake’s first major eruption in 52 years.

Japan‘s Meteorological Agency has restricted access to the mountain, and on Tuesday broadened the no-go zone to anywhere within a four-kilometer radius of the crater. Two lodges and scattered homes are within the perimeter.

Dozens of domestic flights in and out of Miyazaki -- about 950 kilometers southwest of Tokyo -- were grounded last week and more cancellations followed. Train service was temporarily suspended in the area and many schools closed.

The local government also reported damages to crops.

Officials in the town of Takaharu have urged about 1,100 residents who live near the volcano to go to evacuation centers because of the danger of debris, ash and landslides. The warning was not mandatory, however, and some residents were returning to their homes.

Experts said a dome of lava was growing larger inside the 1,421-meter volcano’s crater, but it was not certain whether the dome would grow enough to spill over the rim and create large flows down the volcano‘s sides.

Avalanches of superheated gas, ash and rock have already been observed.

The Japanese islands, part of the seismically active Pacific “Ring of Fire,” are volcanic in origin and dozens of volcanos still are active. In 1991, 43 people died in the eruption of Mount Unzen, also on Kyushu island.

<관련 한글 기사>

日 화산 또 분화..공기 진동으로 부상자 발생

일본 규슈(九州)의 화산이 분화할 때 일어난 공기 진동으로 유리창이 깨져 입원 환자가 다치는 일이 일어났다.

1일 교도통신에 따르면 이날 오전 7시54분께 규슈 남쪽 가고시마(鹿兒島)현과

미야자키(宮崎)현에 걸쳐 있는 기리시마(霧島)산 신모에(新燃)봉(1천421m)이  '폭발 적 분화'를 일으켰다. 지난달 26일 이후 네번째로, 화산재가 섞인 연기는 상공 약 2 천m까지 치솟았다.
화산이 터질 때 폭발음과 함께 일어나는 공진(空振.공기의 진동)의 강도는 신모 에봉 분화구에서 남서쪽으로 3㎞ 떨어진 지점에서 458파스칼에 이르렀다. 100파스칼을 넘으면 유리창이 깨질 수 있고, 458파스칼이면 촉감으로도 느껴지는 것으로 알려 졌다.

이같은 공진으로 가고시마현 기리시마시에 있는 한 병원에서는 1층 병실의 유리 창 여러 장이 깨지면서 입원해있던 90대 여성 환자가 이마를 다쳤다. 기리시마시의 초등학교와 중학교 유리창이나 분화구에서 11㎞ 떨어진 기리시마 시청 기리시마 종합출장소의 출입구 유리창도 깨져나갔다.

지난달 27일 일어난 1차 폭발적 분화 때에는 수백㎞ 떨어진 고치(高知)현에서도 공진으로 유리창이 흔들린 것으로 전해졌다.

한편 주민 대피령이 내려진 미야자키현 다카하라초(高原町)에서는 학교 폐쇄도 잇따랐다.


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