Eruption keeps crossing closed
Thu, 09 Aug 2012 5:27a.m.
Department of Conservation staff are working to re-open tracks and huts on Mt Tongariro, but say it's too early to tell when trampers will be allowed back on the popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing after the volcano erupted on Monday.
Ruapehu area manager Nic Peet says DOC will reopen the Tama Lakes track from Whakapapa Village to Waihohonu Hut and also the Taranaki Falls loop on Thursday at 8am.
"This will open a trans-alpine walk which includes some of the most visited day walks in Tongariro National Park," he said.
"It will be good to get people back into this part of the park."
The mountain erupted about 11:50pm on Monday, spewing ash and prompting a threat warning for the central North Island.
Mr Peet says the main Tongariro Alpine Crossing track, which passes within a kilometre of the eruption site, will remain closed for the time being.
"We're keen to get people back onto the Tongariro Crossing, but we need to make sure the volcano has settled down first."
DOC is liaising closely with GNS Science specialists and local iwi over decisions to re-open tracks and huts around Mt Tongariro.
DOC staff flew over the site of the eruption on Wednesday with GNS experts, getting their first look at the aftermath of the volcanic eruption.
GNS Science volcanologist Michael Rosenberg told NZ Newswire a number of new vents had been formed by the eruption on the northern side of the mountain.
Rocks fell within 1km of the eruption, damaging Ketetahi Hut - one of four trampers' huts on the mountain - but there have been no reports of injuries.
Debris from eruption has dammed three small tributaries of the Mangatipua Stream, and Mr Peet says DOC and GNS will check the risk the water build-up poses to downstream bridges and culverts.
Mr Peet says the inspection confirmed the impact of the eruption is localised to Mount Tongariro within the Tongariro National Park.
Mt Ruapehu and its skifields are unaffected by the eruption, and checks on the Tongariro River indicate little impact from the ashfall.
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