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Fleeting Wonders: A Lightning-Filled Volcano Doesn’t Faze Japan

Japan's Sakurajima volcano lights up the sky.

Japan’s Sakurajima volcano lights up the sky. (Image: RT/Youtube)

This past Friday, at 6:56 p.m., Japan’s Sakurajima volcano blew its top. As captured in a video by RT, the volcano spit huge jets of lava from its caldera, shot up a plume of smoke six hundred stories high, and even threw in one of its signature moves: volcanic lightning.

Locals, though, were less than impressed. Even in a normal year, Sakurajima erupts a lot—as Volcano Discovery reports, it has been going off regularly since 1955, sometimes several times per day. In fact, the volcano’s long winter nap, which lasted from October through January, was more anomalous than this recent explosion.

Sakurajima, which translates to “Cherry Blossom Island,” is located in Kyushu, Japan. As its name suggests, it used to be an island, but it joined itself to the mainland in 1914 via an enormous, lava-heavy eruption. Sakurajima is also responsible for the area’s white sand beaches and, potentially, for the world’s largest radish, which is grown nearby.

Still, better safe than sorry. According to the Japan Times, the Japanese Meteorological Agency has upgraded the volcanic alert level from 2 to 3, preventing people from getting within 2 kilometers of the crater. Residents, though, are unfazed. “I’m not scared because I’m used to it,” local resident Toru Sakamoto told the Times. That’s what happens when your neighbor throws ragers all the time.

A simmering Sakurajima in 2009.

A simmering Sakurajima in 2009. (Photo: Kimon Berlin/Flickr)

Every day, we track down a fleeting wonder—something amazing that’s only happening right now. Have a tip for us? Tell us about it! Send your temporary miracles to cara@atlasobscura.com.