Archive for January, 2013

A plume of smoke emanating from a fissure. Photo / Supplied

Photo / GNS Science

Fears of an eruption are now at their highest since August.

White Island is continuing to produce “vigorous bursts” of mud, rock steam and gas up to 100m high and larger explosions including molten sulphur are possible, say experts.

The seismic activity, which has lasted several days, poses a greater than usual risk to visitors, said GNS Science.

Scientists monitoring the island volcano in the Bay of Plenty say the crater lake is drying out and the frequent bursts of mud, steam and gas were still vigorous.

Past monitoring of the island showed new eruptions often develop from this type of activity and small muddy lakes sometimes form in craters “as the unrest develops geysering and explosions occur through these lakes, becoming more vigorous with time”.

[Read More – New Zealand Herald]

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Mt Taranaki, as seen from space. Photo / Twitter

A NASA astronaut has today tweeted out a picture of Mt Taranaki as seen from the International Space Station.

Thomas H. Marshburn, who has just over 12,000 followers on Twitter, sent a message at about 12:45pm New Zealand time.

“More volcano-spotting! Mt. Taranaki on New Zealand’s North Island served as the backdrop in the movie The Last Samurai,” he said.

The photo shows a clear view of the 2518-metre-high mountain, with the Taranaki coastline seen to the west.

Mt Taranaki is known as one of the most symmetrical volcanic cones in the world and, because of its resemblance to Mount Fuji, was used at the backdrop for The Last Samurai.

[Read More – New Zealand Herald]

Te Maari Crater eruption on Mt Tongariro. Photo / Ben Fraser

The steam and super-heated gases which have been pouring from the side of Mt Tongariro since its two surprise eruptions last year are set to be a feature of the volcano for years.

And nearly two months since Mt Tongariro last blew, GNS volcanologists say there’s every chance of another sudden eruption, just as at neighbouring Mt Ruapehu and White Island to the north.

[Read More – New Zealand Herald]

Volcano watch

White Island
This week downgraded from alert level two to one (out of five). A recently-established lava dome has stopped growing, but scientists say a column of magma not far beneath still poses a threat.

Mt Ruapehu
Remains at alert level one with an exclusion zone around the summit. A suspected blockage below the crater lake may be causing a gas build up that could result in sudden eruption.

Mt Tongariro
Remains at alert level one with part of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing closed. Emitting large amounts of gas and sulphur dioxide and scientists still expect a repeat of the last eruption in November.