Ash settles, volcanic alert remains
Tue, 07 Aug 2012 6:01p.m.
By Hilary Barry
The volcanic alert at Tongariro National Park remains at level 2, just over 18 hours after Mt Tongariro burst into life.
It was the first time in more than a century the volcano has erupted, throwing rock and ash into the air.
The Ketetahi hut took a direct hit from a boulder that had gone 1km into the air and come back down on one of the mattresses inside. Others hit the water tank and surrounding area.
Nobody was injured in the explosion, but those who live in homes dotted around the base of the mountain were treated to a front-row seat.
Residents describe seeing a yellow glare on the mountain, followed by a huge plume of ash and a dramatic electrical storm.
From the air you could see how the ash had landed, with darker shades of grey covering normally green pasture.
Almost every roof in the settlement at Rangipo was covered in thick ash. But the mountain, hidden under a shroud of cloud, refused to reveal the damage.
Scientists say the blast took them by surprise and lasted only a couple of minutes.
“We have had a small volcanic eruption – hydro, not magmatic,” says volcanologist Brad Scott.
He says there was no warning Mt Tongariro was going to blow, and a further eruption may be on the way.
Dr Thomas Wilson, lecturer in hazards and disaster management at Canterbury University, says activity on the mountain could change quickly.
However, it is difficult to know what will happen next, and although things could get worse, the volcano might settle down completely or small eruptions could continue.
"I can't give you any probabilities on the likelihood of these scenarios," he said, "but we can't rule anything out at this stage."
Only some of the ash settled – most of it remained in the air, disrupting flights across the North Island.
But disruption was nothing compared to what could have happened if Tongariro had erupted on huts full of trampers.
Dr Jan Lindsay, senior lecturer and volcanologist at Auckland University, says it is possible ash may reach Auckland as this has happened in the past.
"It will be interesting to see how the eruption develops - whether it continues for months, or is over already," she said.
"If the former we may see ash reaching Auckland, depending of course on the wind direction."
What could happen next?
Post a Comment
Before commenting, please take the time to read our moderation guide
(Won't be published)
7/08/2012 11:42:09 p.m.
The smell almost 24 hours is awful. The Smell only hit Levin in the last couple of hours. Feel for the ones living in the area and having to put up with the smell.
7/08/2012 11:24:18 p.m.
Maybe the big fella upstairs is trying to tell us something as since John Key has been prime minister New Zealand has had nearly as many major disasters as the previous 100 years not counting wars.
7/08/2012 9:42:03 p.m.
Maria Warwick wrote:
Im just a bit concerned about how the man was left out in this video as he said , could taupo lake errupts, who knows, at least we will be all dead where we live. This is shocking a I think this should be on here aswell.
7/08/2012 7:06:09 p.m.
Quote from Hilary on 3 News "if anyone had been in the hut they would be dead" unquote. Sensational bollocks is now News? 'May be dead' fair enough, but 'would be' ??
Quote from expert type in above article " However, it is difficult to know what will happen next and although things could get worse the volcano might settle down completely or small eruptions could continue" Ya think ? All bases covered with that statement so I think you nailed it :)
"But the mountain, hidden under a shroud of cloud, refused to reveal the damage" unquote = dramatic way of saying it was cloudy huh
A stranded orca has been rescued from the Kaipara Harbour af...
Viewers overwhelming voted yes to decriminalising soft drugs...
Anna Burns-Francis visited the suburb of Woolston where a ma...
Campbell Live looks at an initiative to get people walking a...
Copyright © 2013 MediaWorks TV. All Rights Reserved.