White Island in 'spectacular lightening show' - reports
Thu, 09 Aug 2012 11:08p.m.
By Sacha McNeil
All eyes have been on Mt Tongariro this week, so not to be outdone White Island has decided to remind locals it too is still an active volcano.
Tonight it seemed the island had sprung to life with an impressive display in the night sky, however experts say it was more bluster than anything to be concerned about.
For those with a view of White Island, leaving the curtains open tonight would have provided quite a show.
The active volcano dazzled locals with its latest display producing awe and concern.
“It seems like people have been seeing quite a spectacular lightening show what we think is happening is its static electricity building up in the ash plume coming out of white island is being discharged as lightening,” GNS volcanologist Michael Rosenberg says.
He says there's no cause for alarm.
“Yeah it’s a pretty exciting thing to see but its not a sign of increasing activity, it’s really just part of the normal sort of things that we'd expect to see.”
Today scientists confirmed that White Island erupted for the first time since 2001 on Sunday and has been rumbling ever since.
“What we're seeing at the moment is the ash plume starting to include a wee bit of ash not just gas and steam that we've seen over the last week or so that’s part of what we think is the drying out of the vent,” Mr Rosenberg says.
White Island's most recent eruptive phase began in 1975 and lasted 25 years.
Scientists say there is no link between the Tongariro and White Island eruptions, that it's simply a coincidence.
Tonight there are also unconfirmed reports of ash landing in Papamoa near Tauranga.
The volcanic alert level remains at level 2 and tourist operators are being warned to take extreme caution when visiting the island.
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21/08/2012 9:12:41 p.m.
Geoff trappitt wrote:
The wind in papamoa has been blowing offshore all day, don't believe ash can travel up wind
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