August 7, 2012

Mt Tongariro Erupts, Warning For Central North Island...

Mt Tongariro erupts, warning for central NI

Last updated 07:29 07/08/2012
ACTIVE: A view of Mt Tongariro from the northeast, taken before the eruption. The Te Mari Craters are in the foreground.
GNS Science

ACTIVE: A view of Mt Tongariro from the northeast, taken before the eruption. The Te Mari Craters are in the foreground.

ERUPTION: A GNS Science map showing the eruption plume.

GNS Science
ERUPTION: A GNS Science map showing the eruption plume.

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Civil Defence Tongariro eruption advisory Mt Tongariro eruption: What you need to know

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LATEST: Mt Tongariro has erupted, with ash fall closing roads and prompting a potential threat warning for central North Island regions.

Have you seen the eruption? Tell us what you saw and send us your photos and video.

The eruption at 11.50pm last night threw rocks and spewed ash from the Te Mari craters, near Ketetahi hot springs, on the northern side of the mountain, GNS Science said.

A trucker, Bryn Rodda, said he saw part of the eruption.

"I could see this big cloud, it looked like a fist basically, at an angle across the sky...and at about the wrist section of the fist there was an orange ball of flash that I saw, that was all I could see," he told Radio New Zealand.

This morning an ash plume could be seen amongst the cloud that was covering the mountain.

Civil Defence said volcanic activity could pose a threat to Waikato, Hawke's Bay, Gisborne, Manawatu-Whanganui, Bay of Plenty and Taranaki.

People living in those areas were advised to stay indoors with all the windows and doors closed and listen to the radio for updated emergency information and instructions.

The volcanic alert level remained at Level 2 but Civil Defence had increased the Aviation Colour Code from Orange to Red.

The Desert Road section of State Highway 1, northeast of the mountain, and State Highway 46, to the north, had been closed due to the ash.

Motorists were being advised to avoid travel in the area. The road closures would be reassessed at daylight.

Light ash had been reported as falling on SH1 and SH46 and as far as SH5, near Te Haroto and onto Napier city.

An incident management centre had been set up at Whakapapa DOC visitor centre, and local council, police and Department of Conservation were meeting in Taupo this morning.

There had been no further volcanic activity reported since last night.

Civil Defence has not activated the National Crises Management Centre.

Inspector Ian Harris, of police central communications, said search and rescue teams would be sent up the mountain at dawn to check that no one had been stranded in huts.

There had been no reports of injuries or damage because of the eruption and no evacuation notices had been issued, he said.

However, GNS Science duty volcanologist Michael Rosenberg said some people in the Lake Rotoaira area had self-evacuated following the eruption.

There had been reports of "red hot rocks being thrown out of the crater", several loud explosions and lightning when the eruption occurred and ash had fallen 5cm deep on SH46, he said.

The eruption had been "really unexpected".

"You can measure and monitor but sometimes mother nature will do her own thing."

GNS Science planned to send observers to the mountain later this morning, Rosenberg said.

A service station attendant at the Caltex Service Station in Raetihi, beneath the southern slopes of Mt Ruapehu,  said the highway between National Park and Raetihi was still open.

She said no ash had fallen on Raetihi overnight.

A worker at the BP Service Station in Turangi, John MacRae, said while no ash had fallen in Turangi this morning, there was "a sulphur smell round the place".

FLIGHTS AFFECTED

Civil aviation director of meteorology Peter Lechner said the eruption would affect regional flights.

"The ash cloud is obviously stretching from the moutain out towards the east, so by about 9 o'clock this morning we expect that plume to cover probably Gisborne south through Hawke's Bay, perhaps into the northern Wairarapa.

"So air travel into those areas, namely Gisborne, Hawke's Bay aerodrome, and of course Taupo aerodrome will probably be affected by the ash," he told Radio New Zealand.

Airlines would need to decide whether they would continue flying in and out of that area, Lechner said.

"It's up to them to stay clear of the ash. If they can find a clear way through that's fine."

Flights overhead, such as from Auckland to Wellington, would not be affected. Those flights were usually at about 30,000 to 35,000 feet while the ash plume was about 20,000 feet, Lechner said.

If the weather patterns continue, the ash could be pushed out to sea by about 6pm tonight, Lechner said.

"As long as there are no further eruptions, that's a good thing."

There were five reported eruptions from the Te Mari craters between 1855 and 1897 but they had been dormant until now, the GeoNet website said.

- Michelle Cooke, Marcus Stickley, Zar Lilley and Tim Donohue

- © Fairfax NZ News

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Went to bed reading about the recent volcanic eruption in White Island off the Bay of Plenty, and overnight one of our three volcanoes in the central North Island plateau has gone off as well..this ring of fire is certainly keeping us all busy here in New Zealand. Mount Tongariro has not erupted since 1897, although Mount Ruapehu last erupted in March 2007, with a big one I can remember in 1995 and of course the Tangiwai train disaster in 1953 when the lahar from Ruapehu washed out a rail bridge killing 151 people on Christmas Eve.
The third volcano, Mount Ngaurohoe is the distinctive cone at the back of this photo....lies between the other two and is a secondary cone to Tongariro....seems to have been quiet since 2008 but is still an active volcano.

The volcanic alert level remained at Level 2 but Civil Defence had increased the Aviation Colour Code from Orange to Red.

The Desert Road section of State Highway 1, northeast of the mountain, and State Highway 46, to the north, had been closed due to the ash.

Motorists were being advised to avoid travel in the area. The road closures would be reassessed at daylight.

Light ash had been reported as falling on SH1 and SH46 and as far as SH5, near Te Haroto and onto Napier city.

Posted via email from Four Paws and Whiskers

4 comments:

  1. Oh my goodness Fi, you poor people in NZ have had so much to cope with recently

    Thinking of you

    X

    ReplyDelete
  2. Gosh I'm so sorry to hear about this recent eruption, you all will be in my prayers, and looking for updates.

    ReplyDelete
  3. thanks for your thoughts - hope it all settles soon as the locals up there ave a lot of ash to clean up already.

    ReplyDelete
  4. The Family could smell the sulphur in Napier and the airport was closed. I'm not sure of the present situation but NZ is certainly an active place at the moment.

    ReplyDelete

Comments welcome....always love to hear what you think!

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