Mt Tongariro gas does not mean eruption - GNS

STACEY KIRK
Last updated 18:07 11/12/2012

Relevant offers

National

Stolen car leads police on chase across Auckland Dean of Napier stood down over adulterous affair 25 years ago Running man challenge heats up as firefighters join in Another warmer-than-normal May weekend ahead Wellington schools make shift to longer class times National surfing reserve proposed for coastal Taranaki Low cloud cover over Auckland for third day this week Sneak peek at Huntly's $458 million roading project 'Soft spot' at Takaka's recreation park a swamp Arrest made in Thames vandalism spree case

A noticeable release of gas has been spilling out of Mt Tongariro but this did not mean an eruption has occurred, GNS Science says.

There was still a "substantial possibility" of eruption however, especially over the next few months.

Mt Tongariro erupted for the second time this year on November 21, sending a 2km high plume of ash into the atmosphere.

GNS vulcanologist Brad Scott said ongoing activity at Mt Tongariro resembled a similar "volcanic episode" from the 1890s.

"After the second eruption in November we now have to consider the possibility that Tongariro might have entered an eruptive episode and this unrest could continue for several months.

"Within an episode Tongariro might quietly discharge steam most of the time, but occasionally have small eruptions with little or no warning."

Head vulcanologist Gill Jolly said it was difficult to predict what might happen over the next few months.

"Unfortunately with active volcanoes nothing is black and white and our best assessments still have a lot of uncertainty.

"What we can say is that eruptions substantially larger than that on August 6 should give us some warning signs and at the moment we don't see any such signs," Dr Jolly said.

GNS said they had received several reports of possible eruptions, but each incident turned out to be normal steam discharge. On a fine day, the steam plume was more prominent.

There had been only minor seismic activity at Mt Tongariro since the eruption on 21 November. High winds meant no volcanic gas measurements were recorded last week.

GNS said gas could still be smelt downwind from Mt Tongariro and be a minor irritant to some people.

Ad Feedback

- Stuff

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content