‘There wasn’t even lava’

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Many residents came out to film the eruption of Mount Aso on October 20 in Japan. They told the JowharObservers team that despite impressive photos and videos of the eruption, the episode did not cause panic in a country with more than 110 active volcanoes.

Located on the island of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s main islands, Mount Aso is one of the most active volcanoes in the country. The eruption took place at 11:43 am local time and was captured by a live broadcast camera filming from the roof of the volcano museum and broadcast on YouTube. The ash column rose up to 3.5 km above the mouth of the volcano.

The astonishing images of the eruption also circulated on social media inside and outside of Japan. Filmed by residents or visitors at the popular tourist destination, the videos show a huge column of black smoke rolling down the mountainside.

Éruption du volcan du Mont Aso à Kumamoto in the morning at 11:43 AM. vidéo n’est pas en temps réel mais en x10.pic.twitter.com/iv176yFNQY

– ⛩ Ryo Saeba ⛩ (@ Ryo_Saeba_3) October 20, 2021 An accelerated clip of the eruption filmed by a live broadcast camera belonging to the Japanese channel RKK. The chamber is located on the roof of the volcano museum.

On October 20, Nanami (not her real name) was in Takamori, south of Mount Aso, near a playground with her daughter. While taking photos of his daughter, he managed to capture the beginning of the volcanic eruption.

Vidéo Prize at 11:30, mercredi 20 October, près de la ville de Takamori, au Sud du Mont Aso © Les Observateurs de France 24

One person was only 2 km from the volcano with his car at the time of the eruption. The video he shot from his car showing the black cloud went viral on Twitter.

Japanese authorities told residents not to go within two kilometers of the volcano, as they run the risk of being hit with rock debris or inhaling toxic gases.

However, the eruption did not warrant an evacuation.

‘We live among volcanoes’

With its beautiful hiking trails and hot springs, the Aso volcanic site is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Japan. The priority for local authorities has been to ensure that no hiker is trapped. Until the night of October 20, no victims were reported.

Some people approached the volcano the day before the explosion, such as our observer, Japanese photographer Showgo Westfield, who had taken photos at the site on Monday, October 18. It was unable to get close to the volcano’s crater, as the alert level was at 2, before increasing to 3 during the eruption, on a scale of 5.

Photo of the volcano taken by Westfield. © GQ_Official / showgo westfield Hike through Westfield on Mount Aso.

He was already back in Osaka when the volcano erupted. Concerned about the news, he immediately contacted a friend who lives near the volcano.

We live among volcanoes and the Japanese are used to visiting them. When I heard the news, I was still worried about my friend who lives very close to Mount Aso. But he didn’t care at all. To be honest, when I called him, he hadn’t even realized there was a rash.

In fact, people living near the volcano we contacted said they weren’t overly concerned about the volcanic eruption.

‘I was not afraid, there was not even lava’

Miyuki Inoue was working when the eruption occurred. He sent the JowharObservers team several photos and videos of the eruption filmed from his home, which he posted on his social media accounts to reassure his relatives.

I have lived near Mount Aso since I was a child and have experienced several major eruptions. The eruption on Wednesday did not make much of an impression on me. I was not afraid, there was not even lava, and my house was not affected by ash or rocks. Plus, it’s practically over.