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Volcano Erupts In Southern Japan, Sparking A “Dirty Thunderstorm"

Mt. Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture erupted spectacularly on Friday.

Last updated on February 5, 2016, at 7:11 a.m. ET

Posted on February 5, 2016, at 7:11 a.m. ET

One of Japan's most active volcanos erupted spectacularly on Friday, causing a "dirty lightning" storm as lava to poured down one of its slopes.

Kyodo / Reuters

"Dirty thunderstorms" — also known as volcanic lightning — are rare overall, but are a relatively regular sight at Mt. Sakurajima, according to the BBC. They occur when some of the material ejected from the volcano has a positive charge.

Japan's Meteorological Agency said the volcano erupted at around 7 p.m. local time (5 a.m. ET).

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Footage shown on local TV showed a bright orange explosion, and a plume of smoke towering up into the sky.

Video of the moment Japan’s Sakurajima volcano erupted today, sparking a dirty thunderstorm


Public broadcaster NHK reported that the meteorological agency had banned entrance to the surrounding area following the eruption, according to AP.

BREAKING: NHK reports volcanic eruption in southern Japan on Kagoshima's Sakurajima around 6:55 p.m. JST.

Mt. Sakurajima is located on a peninsula — formerly an island — on the southern tip of Kyushu island.

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There have been no reports of any injuries following the blast.


Mt. Sakurajima — pictured here in Sep. 2014 — has erupted multiple times in recent years. Previously, the most recent eruption occurred in Sept. 2015, according to AP.

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