Volcanic alert level for Mount Ontake lowered to 2
The Meteorological Agency has lowered the volcanic alert level for Mount Ontake to 2 from 3 in light of the recent absence of eruptions and a decline in earthquakes at the volcano, which straddles Nagano and Gifu prefectures.The alert system has five levels. Level 3 means entering the mountain is restricted, but level 2 only restricts entry to the crater. The change was announced Friday.
Mount Ontake erupted without warning last Sept. 27, leaving 57 hikers dead and six others missing, but it hasn’t erupted since mid-October. Since smoke is still rising from its vents, however, the possibility of small unexpected eruptions cannot be ruled out, experts at the agency warned.
People need to be on the lookout for large falling rocks within 1 km of the crater, agency officials said, adding that smaller rocks and ash may also fall downwind.
In response to the alert change, the town of Kiso in Nagano Prefecture, which lies at the foot of the mountain, will consider shrinking the restricted area to a radius of 1 km instead of the current 2 to 2.5 km.The search for those who remain missing is expected to resume after the rainy season ends. The Nagano Prefectural Government decided to send a second survey team to the mountain on Tuesday to gauge whether it is safe to resume search operations.
28/06/2015. Ontakesan, Japon :
Source : japantimes.co.jp