At 11.53am (local time) on Saturday, Mount Ontake, Japans second largest volcano erupted spectacularly sending pyroclastic material flying from the summit. The volcano is popular with hikers and tourists alike.
Many were on the flanks at the time and as of lunch time yesterday 31 bodies had been recovered. Search and rescue efforts had to be called off for a short while as activity has picked up again with strong tremors deeming it unsafe for the teams to venture near the area. They have since resumed with a further 180 volenteers headed towards the sumit to aid 24 hikers which had been previously spotted unconscience but yet to be declared dead untill seen by a medical officer.
Japan sits along a triple junction; where the Pacific and Philippian plates are subducting under the Eurasian plates. Subduction volcanoes are typically characterised by explosive eruptions due to the high amounts of silica in the melts. The Japaneese are some of the best prepared for natural disaster like this due to their high risk location and geology.
A small elementary school in the nearby town of Kiso has been turned in to a tempory morgue for bodies being brought down from the mountain.
Further updates to follow.
1. http://www.wpxi.com/photo/news/national/mount-ontake/pCQkr9/ Accessed 29/09/14
2. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-29392810 Accessed 30/09/14