Ash, searing gas and large rocks spewed from Sakurajima volcano, one of Japan’s most active volcanoes, prompting evacuations in the country’s southern island Sunday evening.
Large rocks were hurled as far as 1½ miles south as plumes of smoke and ash contrasted with striking skies.
The volcano erupted around 8:05 p.m. local time Sunday on the island of Kyushu, prompting Japan’s Meteorological Agency to issue a Level 5 alert, the highest alert possible, to residential areas near the volcano, the agency said.
Japan’s Meteorological Agency advised 51 residents in two towns facing the volcano to leave their homes.
Sakurajima is close to 600 miles southwest of Tokyo and has erupted throughout the centuries, according to the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History Global Volcanism Program.
Here are some images from the eruption.
Contributing: USA Today’s Jordan Mendoza, Associated Press
Camille Fine is a trending visual producer on USA TODAY’s NOW team.