Ash gushing from an erupting volcano in Japan covers a downtown area of the city of Takaharumachi in Miyazaki Prefecture on Monday.
The Shinmoedake volcano awakened last week, spewing ash, lava, and lightning (see pictures of last week's volcanic lightning). The biggest explosion yet occurred on January 31, with a bang that shattered windows five miles (eight kilometers) away, according to BBC News.
Residents living near the 4,662-foot-tall (1,421-meter-tall) volcano have been advised to evacuate to a shelter.
A helicopter view shows a lava dome rising in Shinmoedake volcano's crater on January 31. Experts are still unsure whether lava will start to spill over the dome.
Shinmoedake is part of the Kirishima volcano complex, a grouping of about 20 volcanic peaks on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu (map). The site featured in the 1967 James Bond film You Only Live Twice, serving as the secret base of the main villain, Ernst Stavro Blofeld.
People sweep volcanic ash from the streets of Miyakonojo in Miyazaki Prefecture on January 28.
Most of the volcanic eruptions in the Kirishima range have occurred at Shinmoedake and another peak called Ohachi, according to the Japanese news publication theDaily Yomiuri. The new eruptions are considered ominous because they closely resemble highly destructive blasts that occurred at Shinmoedake nearly 300 years ago, the Daily Yomiuri reported.
A farmer blows ash from a vinyl structure in the city of Kobayashi in Miyazaki Prefecture on January 29.
The explosive, ashy activity at Shinmoedake volcano is characteristic of phreatomagmatic eruptions, which are caused when hot magma and underground water directly interact, experts told the Daily Yomiuri.