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At 7.54 am local time, a gigantic explosion of Shimnoe-dake peak ( part of the complex Kirishima volcano) blasted windows as far as 8 km and expelled a colossal ash plume which mushroomed up several miles in the air. Staying in a nearby hotel, our team interrupted breakfast, and drived to the nearest observation platform. Many isolated forest fires could be seen in the valleys below. But none of them carried the signature of a pyroclastic flow, which burns everything in its path. So, what lit them up?

The volcano gives a straight answer: Shimnoe-dake explodes again, and send massive blocks of volcanic bombs in every direction. One of them flies above the road, and lands at the base of a cedar tree only 50 meters away from our team, and creates a large (approx 3 meters wide) impact crater. The poor tree can not resist such a precise shoot, and collapses (see pict herewith). Deep in the crater, the rock cools down and evaporates the soil water.

Japanese authorities have since closed the road. And they are dam right ! Should the blast occured thirty minute later, it could have hit one of the numerous tourist bus or car that have invaded the area since the beginning of the eruption on Jan, 21st.

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