2nd New Zealand volcano 'burps'

2012-08-08 08:46

Mount Tongariro - A second volcano in New Zealand threatened to rumble to life on Wednesday, a day after a long-dormant mountain that was the backdrop to The Lord of the Rings movies erupted.

GNS Science reported no fresh convulsions at the Mount Tongariro volcano, which sent a plume of ash 6 100m into the atmosphere, showering the North Island and disrupting domestic air travel.

But a monitoring camera showed White Island, just off the coast, had experienced a small eruption that was probably unrelated to Tongariro, said Craig Miller, a volcanologist with GNS, the official monitoring body.

"The crater-rim camera appears to be splattered with mud/ash this morning, so it seems there has been some kind of burp," he said.

Around the remote Tongariro volcano - which officials say could erupt again without warning at any time - residents cleaned up the ash that spewed early on Tuesday.

Air travel

Heavy rain washed away much of the fine silt, causing streams to run grey, but residents said the powdery substance seeped into homes even when doors and windows were sealed.

Air travel, which was disrupted across much of the North Island because of the risk posed by volcanic ash, returned to normal, as the remnants of the cloud washed out to sea overnight.

In Wellington, more than 250km from the volcano, a smell of sulphur from gases expelled by the volcano hung in the air for most of the morning.

"It was like sewage, really unpleasant," Wellington resident Carole Burke said. "It was so strong I thought Tongariro must have gone off again."

Three new steam vents had opened up in the side of the mountain, officials said, which until this week had been inactive since 1897.

New Zealand lies on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", where the Earth's tectonic plates collide, making it a hotspot for earthquakes and volcanic activity.

One of the country's deadliest disasters occurred in 1953, when debris from an eruption at Mount Ruapehu, also in central North Island, downed a rail bridge, leading to a train derailment that claimed 151 lives.

Mount Tarawera, in the same area, erupted in 1886, with a death toll estimated at 120 - 150 people.

  • craig.a.salter - 2012-08-08 09:03

    it must of been a fart not a burp. i mean it did smell like sewage

  • Hermann - 2012-08-08 09:11

    Are these signs of another massive quake coming?

      carolyn.dewrance - 2012-08-08 09:41

      Herman this is just the start of something bigger to come, The Earth will not take any more destruction to it caused by the humans on it, and the big shake up is imminent.

      mihaip007 - 2012-08-10 04:20

      Carolyn, you sound like you believe in the Gaia mythology! Volcanoes does not happen because of humans! It is a way of life on earth as we live on crusts of plate tectonics! Study that before you blame humankind for such things! Let's put it this way - the dinosaurs did not cause the impact 65mil years ago that destroyed life as they knew it at the time. Their only fault was that they never evolved past the primitive stage into the scientific stage where they could have STUDIED their environment like we do to understand that lightning and thunder it is not an angry person, but rather nature and how it works! If they did that they would have strived for the stars and they would have found a asteroid on its course with their home, and perhaps prevent it! Oh yes that is where we are today! Volcanoes are but one of nature's assets that we need to understand as inteligent human species. As about the maya, the only thing they could have predicted is something that has to do with astronomy. All hints point to the fact that they were astronomically inclined! I do not know of anything out there that currently exists that would influence earth to have volcaneos or earthquakes happen on earth! Cycles happen, but I am sure cycles of a regular nature on a planetary scale would have been seen by now in the sediments! The galaxy and the alignment actually happened already in the 20th century on a more precise manner, and nothing happened! Other than hitler - but maybe that was it LOL..!

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