Pricey seismic recorder may be ruined

18:37, Aug 07 2012
Tongariro eruption - ash on car
VOLCANO: Ash settles on a car.
Mt Tongariro
Photo taken from Te Mata Perak, Havelock North showing what appears to be ash from the eruption falling on Hawkes Bay.
Tongariro
Ash on the roads this morning.
ash witness
David Bennett, a Lake Rotoaira resident on Sh46, witnessed the Mt Tongariro eruption.
ash witness
Mt Ruapehu erupts on September 24, 1995.
ash witness
The ash cloud produced by the Ruapehu eruption of 2005.
Mt Tongariro eruption
A pair of glasses are covered in ash after Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in over 100 years.
Mt Tongariro eruption
A sheep is covered in ash after Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in over 100 years.
Mt Tongariro eruption
Road signs are coated in ash on state highway one after Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in over 100 years.
Mt Tongariro eruption
A truck kicks up a cloud of ash on state highway one after Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in over 100 years.
Dr Jon Procter
Dr Jon Procter from Massey University holds an ash sample after Mt Tongariro.

A $25,000 instrument recently placed on Mt Tongariro to record seismic activity has probably been wiped out in the eruption.

GNS vulcanologist Michael Rosenberg said scientists had placed several extra seismometers in the area about four weeks ago, to get more accurate data after recent activity.

One instrument worth about $25,000 had been placed close to where new vents had opened up on Monday night. It was in a plastic case about the size of a large briefcase, and was buried about 45 centimetres underground. It had been transmitting seismic information until the eruption.

Scientists fear it may have been destroyed by ash or rocks, but cannot check on it while the volcano is still active. It would probably be a couple of weeks before they could check it, Mr Rosenberg said. "We've lost a key link in there. It will be good to know what's happened to it."

GNS would continue to monitor the area for volcanic earthquakes.

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