Rain causes lahars on Tongariro

18:29, Nov 21 2012
Tongariro eruption - ash on car
Volcanic ash on a car at Poutu near lake Rotoaira.
Tongariro eruption - road block
Takerei Gallagher closes the road at the corner of SH1 near National Park.
Tongariro Crossing closed - Volcano eruption
The popular Tongarior Crossing walking track is closed.
Tongariro eruption
The view towards Ruapehu and Tongariro from Waiouru.
Mt Tongariro eruption
The Mt Ruapehu webcam, about 7.30am today.
Tongariro eruption - ash on road
Ash on the road from the Tongariro eruption.
Tongariro eruption
Ash and steam rise from Tongariro.
Tongariro eruption
The view of Mount Tongariro from Lake Rotoaira, on Sh46.
Tongariro eruption briefing
Authorities brief the media about the eruption.
Tongariro eruption
The sky over Ohakune hours after Tongariro's eruption.
Tongariro eruption
Ash led to all flights to and from the Napier-Hastings' airport being cancelled.
Tongariro eruption
Dave Allan scribbles on a car at Poutu, near Lake Rotoaira.
Josh and Karen Martin
Josh Martin, 14, and his mother Karen Martin cleaning up a friends' property after Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in over 100 years.
Mt Tongariro eruption
A motorist is surrounded by a cloud of ash on SH1 after Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in over 100 years.
Mt Tongariro eruption
Road signs and the surrounding area are coated in ash on SH1 one after Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in over 100 years.
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
Karen Martin helps clean up ash at a friends' property 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.
Tongariro Alpine Crossing track
Boulders gouged out metre sized 'impact' craters along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track near Ketetahi Hut on Mt Tongariro.
Close to the Tongariro Crossing track
Ash covering rock close to the Tongariro Crossing track from the ash cloud from the Tongariro eruption.
Ketetahi Hut
Ketetahi hut was significantly damaged during the eruption.
Tongariro track covered in ash
Boulders gouged out metre sized 'impact' craters along the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track.
Tongariro eruption
Ash blankets the slopes below the Te Maari crater on Tongariro, two days after the eruption.
Tongariro eruption
The weather closes in on Tongariro as DOC and science crews fly around the crater to get a better view, two days after the eruption.

Heavy rain has sparked lahars on the ash coated slopes of Mt Tongariro.

Parts of SH 46 were closed briefly after loose ash and debris washed down the northern slopes of the volcano, as a front of heavy rain sweeps over the North Island.

GeoNet Vulcanologist Graham Leonard said any mudflow on a volcano was considered a lahar, but stressed that today's mudslides had been expected, and there had not been another "eruptive event".

"It's quite a common occurrence."

Taupo Civil Defence manager Phil Parker said it was a "normal road event" unrelated to the volcano, and they would continue to monitor the road.

Mt Tongariro erupted for the first time in 100 years on Monday night, sending ash and rock a kilometre into the air, prompting a potential threat warning for central North Island regions.

Today, the alert level for the volcano is at level two, with five the highest.

A GeoNet update from 7.30am this morning said activity remained "weak".

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