TOKYO, Japan - The Japanese volcano, Mount Shinmoedake, which famously served as the fictional lair of one of James Bond’s villainous enemies, erupted explosively this week, spewing ash, smoke and rocks.
Located in Japan’s southernmost main island of Kyushu, Shinmoedake erupted violently on Friday, in what was its second eruption in seven years.
Since its previous explosion in April, when it spewed a massive ash cloud on the island, spitting giant rocks that reached a height of 4,500 meters, the 1,421-metre peak had quietened down.
However, admission to Shinmoedake remained restricted as authorities monitored the volcano for threat of further activity.
On Friday, less than a week after a strong earthquake shook western Japan, Shinmoedake experienced a series of high profile volcanic eruptions, that sent smoke, ash and rocks thousands of feet into the sky.
Following the eruption, Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a level three warning for the vicinity of Shinmoedake, that continued to shoot out flying rocks.
The volcano was featured in the classic 1967 James Bond flick ‘You Only Live Twice’ which starred Sean Connery.
In the film, Supervillian Ernst Stavro Blofeld builds a secret lair in the volcano’s crater, from where he launches a spacecraft to intercept and steal American and Soviet manned spacecraft.
Connery, as the MI6 agent, is then dispatched to Japan to solve the mystery of the missing U.S. and Soviet shuttles.
Shinmoedake, which is 616 miles from the Japanese capital of Tokyo, is believed to have formed between 7,300 and 25,000 years ago.
One of the most volcanically active countries in the world, Japan has 110 active volcanoes, out of which 47 of them remain under constant monitoring.
Further, another volcano neighboring Shinmoedake - the Sakurajima volcano is also currently in a state of eruption.
According to authorities, Sakurajima is known as one of the most active volcanoes in Asia and erupts thousands of times a year.
In September 2014, Japan suffered its deadliest volcanic eruption in 90 years, when Mount Ontake erupted, killing 63 hikers.
Japan is prone to more volcanoes as it sits on the Pacific "Ring of Fire.”