(Japan, Kiushu) (February 2011)

February 16th : the Kirishima massif spreads over about 20 miles.Its highest summit,the Karakuni-Dake ,which reaches over 5100 feet at its peak,is crowned with snow. In the middle of it, the dark hot cone of the Shinmoedake smokes and hurls curls of white steam into the sky.
Any attempt to come close is stopped by a strictly enforced no-go 3 miles perimeter. And there is nothing to be seen of the dome from the outside,since it is confined in the crater. What is left to be done, once I have ascertained all that, but to go to the Kagoshima flying club to find a way to see the erupting volcano from above?
Translation : Jean-Jacques Grimbert

February 16th (continuation) : to get to finally have a look at the Shimane-Dake at last, there is nothing like a good old Cessna plane,and you can see the entire volcano range.
(you just have to forget that , if the volcano explodes as it did this very morning at 5 a.m.,the plane will be smashed to smithereens…).
When we fly nearer,we can easily spot how far the fallouts have reached : an entirely black layer of volcanic bombs and scoria covers mainly the south side of the cone, spreading over 530 feet. On the western end, the snow melted and mixed with ashes to generate a small mudslide which has flowed over a few hundreds of feet…

* Back to Japan ("Personal volcanic trips").

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