Tongariro a timely reminder on lahar safety
Wed, 22 Aug 2012 9:17a.m.
By 3 News online staff
New Zealand’s North Island volcanoes have been under scrutiny recently following the eruption at Tongariro earlier this month.
The nearby Mount Ruapehu is also active - it last erupted in 2007, causing a Lahar which damaged equipment on one of the mountain's popular ski fields.
In 1953 an eruption on the mountain caused the lahar responsible for the Tangiwai disaster, one of New Zealand’s worst tragedies.
The challenge of ensuring people are kept safe in the event of a lahar is being discussed today at an international hazards conference at the University of Canterbury.
“What we’re discussing today is just the general ongoing preparedness for lahars at Ruapehu,” GNS Science’s Graham Leonard told Firstline this morning, “It’s a timely kind of reminder because ski season is upon us.”
Mr Leonard says it only takes a few minutes for a lahar to travel down the mountain, so it is important the public know what to do in case of such an emergency.
“We put a lot of work into an eruption detection system with the Department of Conservation and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts to set off loudspeaker messages and a warning signal to tell people to move out of valleys and the challenge is we run an exercise every year on this, and a few people, even though they hear that message, they don’t move quick enough or don’t know what to do,” he says.
Mr Leonard says Mount Tongariro has quietened down since its eruption, but continues to be monitored.
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31/08/2012 4:39:42 p.m.
alan graham wrote:
Tangiwai was caused by a DAM BURST and only indirectly by an eruption seven years earlier. That eruption in 1946 created a dam which burst in 1953, causing the disaster.
25/08/2012 9:59:25 a.m.
Nicola Jacobs wrote:
Hi! I live in Taupo New Zealand. GNS SIENCE, keep up the great work. I am so pleased to hear no activitey about Lake Taupo.
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