Mount Aso is the largest active volcano in Japan at 5,222 feet high. It is located in the Kumamoto Prefecture. It has been a popular hiking and tourist spot for decades and has not erupted since 1980.
So far, there have been no reports of injury or major damage besides the volcanic ash that covered many city blocks, cars and buildings. The alert level for Mount Aso has been raised to three, which warns people not to approach the mountain. There is a fear that falling rocks may still be ejected from the mountain.In 1979, three tourists were killed there by large rocks that were displaced due to an eruption.
According to Japanese meteorological officials, Mount Aso is still in an unstable condition. The mountain is active and could erupt again. There was a recent earthquake of high impact that affected Kumamoto and Oita Prefectures in April of this year. That earthquake was strong enough to kill approximately 50 people. It is unclear yet if the earthquake is connected to the reawakening of Mount Aso.
Japan sits in what is known as the Ring of Fire, where a large portion of global earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Japan currently has 100 active volcanoes. Japanese scientists have been conducting experiments in order to better predict the occurrences of volcanic eruptions and figure out ways to minimize damage done by the eruptions.