TOKYO – Mount Aso, a volcano on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu, has erupted, sending huge plumes of black and then white smoke 2,000 meters (6,560 feet) into the air.
The eruption Monday prompted authorities to raise the alert level for the area, banning people from approaching within 2 kilometers (1.25 miles) of the volcano's mouth.
There are no homes within that area and there were no immediate reports of injuries or damage.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said the eruption fired bits of volcanic rock, smoke and steam flying. It was unclear if there was any volcanic flow from the mountain.