Japanese authorities established a no-go zone around a volcano that erupted for the first time in hundreds of years Thursday, The Associated Press reported.
Clouds of smoke and ash spewed from Mount Io’s mouth for the first time since 1768. The activity continued off and on into Friday when authorities restricted access to the mountain.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency has raised the warning level for Mount Io to three on a five-point scale, warning rocks and debris could be hurled as far as 1.2 miles, the Independent reported.
Officials have evacuated people around the base of the volcano, where several tourist areas such as campsites and gift shops are located.
Mount Io lies on Hokkaido, Japan’s northernmost island. The volcano is part of the Kirishima mountain range that crosses Japan’s main island of Kyushu.
Hokkaido is rich in natural beauty and a popular spot for skiers and hikers to enjoy the mountainous region. Japan itself lies on the Pacific “Ring of Fire,” a broad circle of active volcanoes around the Pacific Ocean, and has more than 100 active volcanoes.
Japan’s Mount Shinmoedake erupted in March for the first time since 2011, launching enough ash and soot into the sky to ground nearby flights.
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