The Town Where Everyone Wears A Gas Mask

Miyakejima The Gas Mask Town

Heading to the store? Don’t forget your gas mask. Despite the high level of volcanic activity that causes poisonous gas to leak from the earth and in 2000 forced 3,600 residents to evacuate the island of Miyakejima, Japan, some island denizens just can’t stay away.

The Town Where Everyone Wears A Gas Mask

Eruption of Volcano Oyama in Miyakejima Photo

Resting atop a chain of volcanoes, Miyakejima is a hub for volcanic activity. Over the past century, the volcanoes have erupted six times. The worst of these occurred in June 2000 when, after a repose of 17 years, Mount Oyama erupted. 17,500 earthquakes followed the eruption, which hit the island between June 26 and July 21.

Eruption of Mount Oyama in Miyakejima Japan Picture

During the assault of eruptions and earthquakes, ash plumes soaring 10 miles high enveloped Miyakejima, and heavy ash fell as craters collapsed. Later, high levels of toxic sulfur dioxide would regularly rise up through the ground, making 20 percent of the land uninhabitable. After three months, the government took action and forced a mass evacuation in September.

Miyakejima Panorama Photograph

Savannah Cox
Savannah Cox is the Managing Editor of All That Is Interesting. She holds a Master's Degree in International Relations, and works as a reporter/producer for DNAinfo, as well as a graduate researcher at The New School.
Like All That Is Interesting Get The Most Fascinating Content On The Web In Your Facebook Feed