The dramatic moment in which Mount Shindake on the remote southern Japanese island of Kuchinoerabu erupted in a towering 9 kilometer (over 5.5 miles) pillar of ash was caught on video Friday morning, with the volcano erupting around 10 a.m. local time.
The Japanese meteorological agency issued the highest level warning in response and the government has ordered the evacuation of the tiny southern island's 140 residents.
Coverage from the Japanese NHK, including footage of the moment of the eruption, can be viewed below.
Pyroclastic flows of hot gas and rock have reached the northwest shore of the island, which is located 100 kilometers (62 miles) south of the island of Kyushu, and requires two ferry rides to reach normally.
The Japanese language Asahi Shimbun cited experts saying the risk of magma explosions accompanying the pyroclastic flows is very high, indicating that the destruction may just be starting.
As of yet the ill effects of the volcano have not reached the populated Maeda district of the island, with no damage yet reported.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has established an emergency response team to track the volcano and dispatched the Japanese Self-Defense Forces (JSDF) to the island to help keep the residents safe. Likewise a coast guard ship has been sent to aid the evacuation process.
Mount Shindake has been a lethal volcano in the past; way back in 1841 it erupted and killed many people while destroying several villages, and eruptions from late 1933 to early 1934 claimed the lives of eight people and wounded 26 others, reports the Japan Times.
It most recently erupted last August, marking the first time it did so since 1980.
The volcanic activity comes just months after Japan experienced its worst volcanic disaster in the postwar period, when Mount Ontake in central Japan erupted last September.
That blast killed 57 people, mostly hikers who were on the mountain, although six others are still missing and likely were buried under the ash and rock.
Japan's sprawling metropolis of Tokyo is also under a potential volcano threat, as the ground level of the nearby hot-spring area of Mount Hakone has risen up to 15 centimeters (almost six inches) in the course of just two weeks this month, caused by sulfurous steam from underground vents within the mountain.