Japanese city coated with ash from volcanic eruption

In this photo released by Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory, volcanic smoke billows from Mount Sakurajima in Kagoshima, on the southern Japanese main island of Kyushu Sunday, Aug. 18, 2013. Kyodo reported that it erupted Sunday evening, marking the 500th eruption this year at the 1,117 meters (3,686 foot) high mountain, which is one of Japan's most active volcanoes. There is no immediate reports of injuries. AP Photo/Kagoshima Local Meteorological Observatory

TOKYO A volcano has erupted in southwestern Japan and coated a nearby city with a layer of ash.

People in Kagoshima city wore masks and raincoats and used umbrellas to shield themselves from the ash after the Sakurajima volcano erupted Sunday afternoon. Drivers turned on their headlights, and local media described the ash like driving through snow at night. Railway operators stopped service in the city temporarily so ash could be removed from the tracks.

Kyodo News reported no injuries have occurred. It said the smoke plume was 5 kilometers (3 miles) high and lava flowed about 1 kilometer (.6 miles) from the fissure.

TV news reports Monday morning showed masked residents sprinkling water and sweeping up the ash. The city was mobilizing garbage trucks and water sprinklers to clean up.

City officials wearing masks clean the pavement covered by ash Monday morning, Aug. 19, 2013 after the Sakurajima volcano erupted Sunday afternoon in Kagoshima, on the southern Japanese main island of Kyushu.
AP Photo/Kyodo News

Japan is on the Pacific "Ring of Fire" and has frequent seismic activity. Sakurajima erupts often, and the Japan Meteorological Agency maintains a warning against people going near the volcano.

It is about 10 kilometers (6 miles) from Kagoshima city in Kagoshima prefecture.

Kyodo cited JMA as saying there are no signs of a larger eruption at Sakurajima but similar activity may continue.

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