Pricey seismic recorder may be ruined

Last updated 05:00 08/08/2012
Mt Tongariro eruption
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A sheep is covered in ash after Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in over 100 years.

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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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- The Dominion Post

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