Dust clouds rise as more rubble slides off Mt Taranaki

LAIRD HARPER
Last updated 07:37 08/01/2013

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More rubble and ash were believed to have slid down Mt Taranaki yesterday - this time on the eastern side.

Less than 24 hours after Okato photographer Marcus Lacey captured pictures of dust clouds at the headwaters of the Stony River, the Taranaki Daily News received multiple calls about another suspected slip near the Maketawa Gorge.

Department of Conservation's Dave Rogers said landslides were quite common in both areas.

"These are areas that are highly erosive, just by the sheer nature of the slopes and the soil makeup there.

"They get wind-blown, dry out immensely, and all of a sudden this wind funnels its way up through the valleys creating plumes of dust."

The dust was seen between the skifield and the North Egmont visitors' centre, near the Maketawa River, shortly after 2pm.

In 2009, a dust cloud in the same area had onlookers fearing a massive chunk of the mountain had collapsed.

Mr Rogers said these slips were also mistaken for bushfires.

"It looks like plumes of smoke."

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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