Graphic demo shows power of eruptions
Every year a University of Canterbury lecturer shoots hundreds of coloured balls into the air to mimic what happens when a volcano erupts.
Volcanology lecturer Ben Kennedy yesterday put liquid nitrogen into a barrel filled with water and various-sized balls to give third-year geology students a demonstration the day after Mt Tongariro erupted.
Kennedy said the test, renamed the "Tongariro experiment", showed how different materials reacted when they were put under pressure.
"It's for teaching them the basic principles of how far different objects will go," Kennedy said.
He said that given what happened at Mt Tongariro, it was important to understand the power of eruptions.
Student Tori Shier agreed.
"A lot of the labs have been really fun and it's been really helpful for us to see this kind of thing."
Fellow student Cameron Wise said it was a "cool" experiment.
"If you can understand how they are going to break, then you can try predict to how dangerous they are going to be," he said.
Kennedy said the students were going to study the ash pattern from the Tongariro eruption as part of their class work.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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