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Out Of Mind » SOLAR & PLANETARY ALERTS & INFO » ATMOSPHERIC CHANGES » New Zealand volcano on verge of eruption: volcanologists

New Zealand volcano on verge of eruption: volcanologists

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New Zealand volcano on verge of eruption: volcanologists

Posted on November 16, 2012

November 16, 2012 NEW ZELAND - New
Zealand volcanologists warned Friday that the central North Island
mountain of Ruapehu was showing signs of an imminent eruption. The
government’s Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science)
said the temperature beneath Ruapehu’s Crater Lake was about 800 degrees
centigrade, but the lake itself was only 20 degrees centigrade, which
suggested a vent was partly blocked. That could lead to a pressure
build-up beneath the Crater Lake, indicating a heightened likelihood of
eruptions over the coming weeks to months. “We think the pressure
beneath Ruapehu Crater Lake has increased and this makes an eruption
more likely over the next weeks to months,” GNS Science duty
volcanologist Steve Sherburn said in a statement. A build-up of pressure
beneath the Crater Lake was thought to have caused the last eruption in
2007 and a smaller eruption in 2006. Since late October, small
earthquakes had been occurring about 5 km beneath the summit area of
Ruapehu, a popular winter skiing ground, but these might not be directly
related to the high temperatures beneath the Crater lake as they were
much deeper. As a result, GNS Science had increased the aviation color
code warning for aircraft from green to yellow, which reflected a change
from a normal non-eruptive state to showing elevated signs of unrest.
However, the volcanic alert level remained at 1 on the scale of 0 to 5,
indicating initial signs of possible volcano unrest. In August, two
other New Zealand volcanoes erupted, but no damage or casualties were
reported. Mount Tongariro, also in the central North Island, erupted on
Aug. 6, throwing out small amounts of ash in its first eruption since
1897. Two days later, White Island, a marine volcano about 50 km off the
east of the North Island, erupted, sending up an ash plume 200 to 300
meters in the air, in its first eruption since 2001. –Xinhuanet

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