More Tongariro eruptions forecast

By Dave Williams and Sarah Robson, NZ Newswire Updated November 21, 2012, 7:30 pm

There's no way of knowing when Mt Tongariro will next erupt, but another eruption of a similar size could happen at any time over the next few weeks, scientists say.

Tongariro's Te Maari crater erupted for about five minutes on Wednesday afternoon, sending a plume of ash and gas up to 4km into the air.

GNS Science says the eruption - which occurred without any warning - appears to be over, but they haven't ruled out further eruptions over the next few weeks.

There was a similar sized eruption from the same crater in August.

Trampers - including groups of school children - were walking the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing when the eruption happened about 1.25pm.

About 90 students from Napier's Tamatea Intermediate School were only about 1km away from the Te Maari crater.

"We were right up there next to it. It was just amazing... We saw all these tourists running away from it. We didn't stick around long," teacher Lomi Schaumkel told Fairfax.

Another school group of 20 students and 11 adults from Gulf Harbour School were on their way down the mountain when it sprang to life.

"There was no noise, it was just pluming smoke," principal John Petrie told One News.

"Initially we stayed there looking at it and the kids got out their cameras out and then as it got bigger and bigger we thought `this is interesting'."

There were no reports of injury.

The volcanic alert level remains at two, which signals minor eruptive activity. The aviation colour code has been decreased from red to orange, indicating that a volcanic eruption is underway, but with little or no ash being produced.

August's eruption sent rocks smashing into nearby Ketetahi Hut but Wednesday's burst only contained ash and gas, Conservation Department spokeswoman Kim Turia told NZ Newswire.

Light winds meant the plume went straight up and dissipated, but Civil Defence officials said volcanic ash could fall downwind to the east and people in affected regions should stay indoors.

A spokeswoman for Airways, the organisation responsible for air traffic management, said flights over the central North Island were being diverted away from the volcano.

Air New Zealand cancelled three flights on Wednesday to the main airport nearest the mountain, Taupo, and warned some flights to some airports to the east of Tongariro could be cancelled or delayed.

Last week, GNS warned there was increased activity underneath nearby Mt Ruapehu but scientists have dismissed a link between the two.

In August, the upper Te Maari Crater erupted for the first time in more than a century, sending rocks falling within 1km of the crater.

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  1. Jimmi10:53am Thursday 22nd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Another Krakatoa (here's hoping, it'll keep the population down)

  2. John10:04am Thursday 22nd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    The terrible weather in Finance Minister Bill English's Clutha-$outhland and nearby National seats, and ongoing quakes and volcanic eruptions in National seats, most recently Mt Tongariro yesterday, are God's replies to National's Godzone $tate A$$ets $ale Act, Crafar Farms $ale, English's Budgets, Fascist new laws, and worker/beneficiary-bashing. If National does any $tate asset $ales, God will do both an eruption from Mt Ruapehu (which He is already stoking up, in a National seat), and an HUGE earthquake in Wellington, to ruin Parliament Buildings and the nearby National Party and Business RoundTable offices, centered in Dunne's Ohariu seat and wrecking his house. Jealously safeguarding His Name, God takes seriously all political events in a country calling itself Godzone, judging them against His Scriptural authority. The Bible shows He is a rabid Socialist,by His concern for the poor, oppressed, and powerless,using His "acts of God" to warn and punish evildoers especially corrupt politicians. So for an end to all the storms, quakes, and volcanic eruptions in Godzone since 2009, workers (and farmers in the light of the Crafar Farms $ale scandal) must urgently unite to restore Godzone ASAP to the Socialist paradise that it was under a Labor-led Govt in 2000-8, with a Labor-Green-NZFirst-Mana Govt, to ensure job growth and get Godzone going again, reduce attraction of Labor-ruled Oz to Godzoners, for jobs,health,education, and housing for all, no more $tate a$$et or Crafar-type land $ales, no worker/beneficiary-bashing, and repeal of all National's Fascist laws, including 89-day worker turnovers,the Search & Surveillance Act, and Criminal Procedure Act. The National Govt will fall before 2014,halting $tate a$$et $ales. It will take only one lost byelection, probably in Ohariu where Turncoat Dunne is looking sick and in terrible trouble for promising no asset $ales last election,to stop them passing any more such anti-social policies,and enable repeal of the Godzone $tate A$$ets $ale Act and others. Frustration of National's agenda (due to Maori Party opposition and eventual defection) will then cause an early election.

  3. PG06:30am Thursday 22nd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    That will mean more trampers.Thats NZ.

  4. TeArawai12:16am Thursday 22nd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Parents might like to insist government permit the learning at home option rather than trust schools with their children. Generally common sense not a degree in science, would avoid being on a mount which was known to be unsafe for at least 48 hours prior. Maybe they should have stayed at school to argue their pay system problems.

  5. TeArawai12:04am Thursday 22nd November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Interesting. Looks like the upper Te Maari crater could spew rocks next in August 3012. Gosh these Yahoo researchers are good.

  6. A.M.G11:48pm Wednesday 21st November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Increased activity beneath Mt Ruapehu,but dismissing a Link between the two-do they play us for fools or what?that Trio of Mountains are linked;Ruapehu,Tongariro,Ngauruahoe-would'nt be surprised if the third of the trio decided to "Spring into life" as well.

  7. Rob10:36pm Wednesday 21st November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Exactly Emjay - always a risk - even driving to work - people should realise their mortality

  8. cynthia10:13pm Wednesday 21st November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    I think it is a very poor choice of a Principal and Teacher to take any children anywhere near that area, when warnings have been given out over the last week or so in that area. Why cain't people understand the dangerous areas of our country??

    3 Replies
  9. SEABOSS09:57pm Wednesday 21st November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Too many experts in this country and not enough ordinary ones.I say better to keep mouth shut and be thought of as a fool than open it and remove all doubt.

  10. Andy09:43pm Wednesday 21st November 2012 NZDTReport Abuse

    Do you know minute to minute whats going to happen at work tomorrow and how people are going to react. Same with a Volcanoligist, They can fore warn of an event in most ocassions but don't always have a crystal ball how it will play out. Good luck to those who live there . You did decide to live below a active volcanoe.


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