Japan’s greatest volcano erupts, threatening cities and villages with 2km of lava.

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The eruption at Mount Aso has sent a plume of volcanic ash 3,500 metres above the crater. Aso city, Takamori town and Minamiaso village are all expected to be covered in ash.

A huge volcano on Mount Aso, Japan, has erupted with lava flows expected to reach two kilometres away from the crater.

Nearby settlements including the city of Aso, Takamori town and Minamiaso village are reportedly in danger.

The ash has been sent 3,500 metres into the sky, heading east of what is Japan’s largest active volcano.

The Prime Minister’s Office confirmed the eruption and issued a level three warning in the area (restricting entry) having initially issued a level two warning.

If the warning level is upped once again there will be mass evacuations.

They said on Twitter: “Be wary of large volcanic blocks and pyroclastic flows that accompany the eruption within a range of approximately 2 km from the crater.”

According to local meteorologists, Mount Aso had been threatening to erupt since yesterday with periodic tremors.

Japan Meteorological Agency have said that the eruption started at 11.43am local time today.

Officials in Takamori town now report that volcanic ash is continuing to cover the settlement, and that residents are being warned and advised via mass e-mail.

Local news outlets have reported that there have been no human casualties confirmed so far.

Terrifying images shared on social media reveal the sheer size of the eruption. Although it is too early to see the lava pouring down the mountain, a giant grey mushroom cloud has almost occupied the entire sky.

There have been several eruptions at the site in recent years. In 2014, a small but significant lava flow was propelled in a what was a Strombolian (mild) eruption.

A larger one the year after saw ash rise 2,000 metres above the crater and heavy pyroclastic flows.

In October 2016 the area was issued with a level three warning, as it has been today, after an eruption reached 11,000 metres above sea level.

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