TOKYO, Aug. 20 (Xinhua) -- A massive cleanup operation continued in Kagoshima city in southwest Japan Tuesday, following the eruption of the Sakurajima volcano on Sunday, which spewed ash as high as 5,000 meters, covering the city.
Local meteorological observatory said the volcanic plume of ash following the eruption was the highest in recorded history and marked the 500th time the Sakurajima volcano has erupted this year.
Officials said that as of Tuesday morning, no one had been injured by the eruption, despite volcanic rocks measuring 50 centimeters in diameter being observed at the Third Station of the mountain.
The station lies 1,300 to 1,800 meters from the Showa Crater, the observatory said. It also confirmed a small pyroclastic flow of about one kilometer long.
The cleanup of Kagoshima city, the capital of Kagoshima Prefecture, saw some 60 water-spraying vehicles continue to clean the streets on Tuesday, aided by hundreds of local residents wearing masks and using hoses and brushes to flush away the ash.
The air is now clearer than Sunday, but still darkened by the ash being blown in by southeasterly winds, the observatory said.
Business has largely returned to normal in the city of 600,000 people, who live only 10-kilometers from the volcano whose eruptions are part of their daily life, the Asahi Shimbun newspaper said Tuesday.
The local observatory said that there were no indications that a larger eruption was imminent, although warned that seismic activity could lead to a similar-sized eruption.
About 120 grams of volcanic ash has fallen per square meter of ground from January to July this year, the observatory said. On Sunday alone, it recorded 13 grams of ash.
"Ash fell over a wide area in this eruption," said a Kagoshima city official. "We'll attempt to clean it up in three days," the Yomiuri Shimbun quoted the official as saying Tuesday.
The observatory added that while there has been a series of small eruptions from the Sakurajima volcano, it has not erupted with plumes as high as 5,000 meters since Oct. 7, 2000.