Japan’s Ioyama volcano awoke from a 250-year slumber Thursday afternoon, spewing a plume of ash taller than the Eiffel Tower that prompted warnings for planes and nearby villages that faced a threat from ash and falling rocks.
The last time the volcano was active was in 1768, eight years before the Declaration of Independence. Mount Io erupted around 3:40 p.m. Thursday, according to the Associated Press. No injuries were reported, although Japanese officials warned that the eruption could continue into the weekend.
Japan’s meteorological agency declared the entire mountain off limits on Friday, even though explosions had subsided.
“There is a possibility the volcano will become more active,” Meteorological Agency official Makoto Saito told the Japan Times.
In particular, the agency expects more ash and pyroclastic flows, a mix of hot lava blocks, ash and gases that barrel down the sides of some volcanoes.
Japan sits in the Pacific Ocean’s “Ring of Fire” and has 110 active volcanoes, according to the AP. And Mount Io is part of the Kirishima mountain range on Kyushu, Japan’s southern main island.
Io is erupting about 620 miles southwest of the capital, Tokyo, near the site of another volcano that violently erupted in March.
Several people were killed in January after Mount Moto-Shirane erupted without warning near a popular ski resort northwest of Tokyo.
The meteorological agency detected volcanic activity on Mount Io in February and raised the warning level to 2.