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Japan's Mount Kirishima Eruptions Caught on Video

Under all that ash is Japan's Kirishima volcano. (Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.)

A Japanese volcano famous for its role in a James Bond movie is continuing its recent explosive run.

Mount Kirishima, a volcano on the southern island of Kyushu, began erupting on Jan. 26. An eruption on Feb. 1 was nine times larger than a 1959 eruption of the volcano, its previous largest, said the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan. Ash shot over 1 mile (1.6 kilometers) into the air.

During Kirishima's eruptions, volcanic material shot from the crater, triggering pyroclastic flows, according to the blog Big Think. Pyroclastic flows are rapid currents of hot gas and rock that speed down a volcano.

Kirishima technically refers to a larger group of volcanic vents on Kyushu, Japan; the current eruption is from the Shinmoedake peak. These vents are quite active but mostly have small explosive eruptions. A volcanic vent is a gap in the Earth's crust through which lava and volcanic gases can escape.

Spectacular video of the giant ash plumes have captured the volcano's awesome power. The explosions were so powerful that they shattered windows 5 miles (8 kilometers) away, the BBC reported.

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Kirishima ejected volcanic bombs lava fragments that are rounded as they fly through the air more than a mile above its vent, according to news reports. Images of the eruption show plumes of glowing material shooting a few hundred feet in the air.

James Bond fans may recognize Mount Kirishima. The film "You Only Live Twice" was filmed there.

See the ongoing eruption on the Kirishima webcam.

Reach OurAmazingPlanet staff writer Brett Israel at bisrael@techmedianetwork.com. Follow him on Twitter @btisrael.

Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.