Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Japan warns of possible eruption of Hokkaido volcano

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) on Tuesday raised its alert level for Mount Meakandake located on Japan's northern island of Hokkaido, warning that the volcano is potentially active and an eruption might occur.

The 1,500-meter high active stratovolcano, located in the Akan National Park in Hokkaido -- the tallest mountain in the Akan Volcanic Complex -- is a popular hiking spot for both tourists and locals with hiking now being in peak season.

As of 4:00 p.m. JST, the JMA raised the alert level from 1 on its 5-point scale, which states that those in the vicinity should: "be mindful that the volcano is potentially active," to level 2, warning: "do not approach the crater."

The volcano, in fact, has a triple crater at its summit and consists of nine overlapping cones, which prefectural officials have said is a lure for visitors as the summit offers stunning vistas of the region and the lakes in the craters, and is close to the popular hot spring resort at Lake Akan, which is less than 10 km away from the volcano.

Local officials, however, said the hot spring resort itself would not be impacted by the raised alert level, although hiking within 500 meters of the crater has been restricted.

According to the weather agency here, there has been an increase in volcanic earthquakes in the vicinity of Mt. Meakandake since the weekend, with smoke spotted near the volcano's craters...

  Xinhua -

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