Kagoshima (Kyodo) A pair of explosive eruptions Sunday on Mount Sakurajima in Kagoshima Prefecture brought the total to 550 this year, setting a new annual record, the local meteorological observatory said.

Given that the volcano has been erupting roughly twice as frequently since last year, the number of eruptions could reach 1,000, the observatory said.

The previous record of 548 was set last year.

The volcano released around 3 million tons of ash between January and April alone, more than the roughly 2.35 million tons released in 2009.

"While there is no ominous sign of a large-scale explosion, volcanic activity is expected to intensify," the observatory said in a statement. "It is advisable to watch out for large rocky ash falling in surrounding areas."