One of world's largest volcanoes erupts in Japan

An aerial view shows volcanic smoke spew from Mount Aso in Aso, Kumamoto prefecture, southwestern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo November 26, 2014. A local observatory said it has seen no sign of intensifying volcanic activity, Kyodo news reported.

REUTERS/Kyodo

A volcano in southern Japan blasted out chunks of magma Friday in the first such eruption in 22 years, causing flight cancellations and prompting warnings to stay away from its crater.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said that Mount Aso spewed out lava debris and smoke, shooting plumes of ash a kilometer (3,280 feet) into the sky. Dozens of flights from Kumamoto, the nearest city, were canceled.

The observatory did not expect the eruption to increase in scale. Mount Aso, about 1,000 kilometers (625 miles) southwest of Tokyo on Kyushu island, is one of the world's largest. Earthquakes and other seismic activity stepped up in late August.

Eruptions by another volcano, Mount Ontake, in Nagano west of Tokyo killed more than 50 people in late September.