A New Zealand volcano suddenly erupted after lying dormant for more than a century, spewing an ash plume that disrupted flights and closed highways, officials said Tuesday.
The Mount Tongariro volcano, in the middle of North Island, erupted just before midnight (1200 Monday GMT) in the first significant activity at the site since 1897, the official monitoring body GNS Science said.
Witnesses in the area, which was used as a backdrop for the Mount Doom sequences in "The Lord of the Rings" movies, reported "flame-like explosions and a cloud of ash coming from a new hole in the side of the mountain".
"There were rocks being thrown out. It was like thunder and lightning and fireworks. It was spectacular," local resident David Bennett told Fairfax Media.
Police reported no injuries or damage from the eruption.
Civil Defence said it did not result in any lava flows but sent a cloud of ash 20,000 feet (6,100 metres) into the atmosphere, forcing the cancellation of dozens of domestic flights.
While Civil Defence officials did not order any evacuations, they advised residents beneath the cloud to stay indoors with windows and doors sealed.
They said late Tuesday that the immediate threat had passed, but added "an eruption could occur at Tongariro at any time with little or no warning".
Volcanologists admitted the eruption took them by surprise, with no seismic activity recorded at the slumbering volcano before it rumbled back to life.
Prime Minister John Key said authorities were watching the situation closely.
"Civil Defence and others will continue to monitor the situation and if we believe it presents more significant risks then obviously we'll make sure that everyone's well and truly notified of that," he told reporters.
New Zealand lies on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", where the Earth's tectonic plates collide, making it a hotspot for earthquakes and volcanic activity.
One of the country's deadliest disasters occurred in 1953, when debris from an eruption at Mount Ruapehu, also in the central North Island, downed a rail bridge, leading to a train derailment that claimed 151 lives.
Mount Tarawera, in the same area, erupted in 1886, with a death toll estimated at 120-150 people.
Rangipo farmer Dave Allen said the Mount Tongariro eruption woke him with "an almighty bang" and he looked out of his window so see explosions on the side of the mountain, before fleeing his home.
"It was an amazing sight...(but) I didn't hang around to see how beautiful it was going to get in case it all came flying down the mountain on top of us," he told AFP.
"We turned all the power off and grabbed a couple of neighbours and their kids and went off to a meeting point."
Air New Zealand said the eruption affected domestic flights to Gisborne, Rotorua, Taupo, Napier and Palmerston North but most services were back to normal late Tuesday.
The CAA said international flights were not expected to be disrupted, as they cruise above 20,000 feet.
Police said several highways in North Island were initially closed due to poor visibility and reopened Tuesday morning.
GNS Science volcanologist Michael Rosenberg said volcanic activity could continue for weeks.
"This eruption caught us by surprise. We've been monitoring the area after earthquakes, but we didn't expect this," he told TVNZ.
"This might just be a quiet period and we should expect it to start again at any time. So we are watching things very closely."
Increased activity seen at volcanoes in Italy and Mexico
Tue, 07 Aug 2012 13:46 CDT
News have been dominated by Tongariro volcano's first eruption in 115 years (New Zealand). At the moment, the volcano is quiet, but eruptions could resume any time.
Etna (Italy): Strombolian activity continues at varying levels. Following a phase of weak activity during 4-6 Aug, an increase of activity was observed at the Bocca Nuova during the night 6-7 Aug.
Also in Italy, the activity at Stromboli (Eolian Islands) has been at relatively high levels over the past days. The number and size of explosions from the summit vents has increased.
Popocatépetl in Mexico: About 1 explosion occurs per hour, and strong glow is visible at night. A relatively powerful eruption late on 6 Aug sent ash to up to 30,000 ft (10 km) altitude.
The volcanoes in Guatemala have shown little changes in activity over the past days.
Fuego volcano has intermittent weak strombolian explosions throwing lava up to 100 m above the crater, and the lava flow on the south flank is still active.
Santiaguito / Santa Maria (Guatemala): Weak to moderate explosions occur regularly and produce ash plumes up to 900 meters high. Avalanches of lava blocks descend on the south flank of the dome. Lots of seismic activity is visible on the seismograms, most of it related to rockfalls. Some tremor and shallow volcanic quakes and weak degassing are the only signs of activity reported from Pacaya.
In Colombia, there are currently 1 volcanoes on orange alert (Ruiz)(eruption warning) and 4 on yellow (unrest):
Nevado del Ruiz (Colombia) shows tremor, associated with gas and minor ash emissions at low level. A shallow M1.2 earthquake occurred at 3:11 (local time) near the Arenas crater. INGEOMINAS keeps a close watch of the volcano.
Compared to the previous week, the seismicity at Galeras has increased and shows events related to fluid movements within the volcano. Few weak earthquakes with magnitudes less than 1.1 related to fracturing of rock occurred at shallow depths (less than 4 km) at various locations under the volcano.
Seismicity at Cerro Machin volcano remains at slightly elevated levels with some weak earthquakes SE under the lava dome at depths between 3.5 and 5 km.
At Cumbal volcano, seismicity is still above background levels, but has has decreased. Signals are interpreted as fluid movements under the volcano.
Nevado del Huila The volcano shows normal seismic activity and degassing at low levels with no significant changes to previous weeks. INGEOMINAS keeps the alert level at yellow.
Tungurahua volcano: Activity remains generally at relatively low levels. Few small to moderate explosions (about 3-5 per day) and weak steam and ash venting continue at Tungurahua. The last reported ash cloud altitude was at 18,000 ft (4.5 km) from an explosion on 6 Aug.
This morning, a more intense phase with volcanic tremor is visible on the seismograms.
Reventador volcano: IG reports a strong steam plume rising 1500 m above the summit, but does no more mention any active lava flow.
Sangay volcano: No recent reports of eruptions from remote Sangay are available, but this might simply incidate that its typical strombolian eruptions are too small.
New Zealand Maori Elder Warns of Coming Earth Changes
related: Stan's August 1998 report
September 10, 2007
by Karen Lyster
The following story is a true event that happened to me personally. We have all heard about the warnings and prophecies of coming earth changes that could affect all of us if even a small portion of whats been predicted eventuates.
Every country has its original people, for America it is the Native Americans, for Australia it is the Aboriginals, for New Zealand it is the Maori. What do these people all have in common? They are spiritually gifted, closely knit people who generally keep to themselves, share their tribal prophesies with very few outsiders and generally lead simpler lives closely tied to the Earth.
The story I am about to relay to you involves a Maori Elder who visited me some time ago and shared some of her gifted insights with me. I have a very deep respect for the Maori culture and have found over the years that they have a certain knowledge and understanding that westernised people have somehow lost over the many decades or "improving" ourselves. Could it be that we have lost some vital link to our subconscious mind that the indigenous peoples of this planet have not? Why is it that these people are so much more intune with the natural forces of our planet. One can not but wonder and be amazed that the similarities of these ancient peoples prophecies that seem to carry so many of the same warnings.
Have we stepped so far over the line in trying to "civilazise" ourselves that we have become out of tune with the natural harmony we once shared with this planet?
This story started on Tuesday the 4th of August 1998, when I was visited by a lady who was a Elder of one of the Maori Tribes. Even though she's probably only about 45, she's a descendent from the Royal Bloodline of the Maori Queen. She has what is called, great "Mana", and although there isn't an English translation for the word, it means that the person has to have great wisdom, earned INCREDIBLE respect, and has abilities like inner visions and intuition. So if you equate her to one the Hopi Elders, you can see what I mean about her presence.
She told me that a few weeks ago she was "called" to go and visit Cape Riangi - which is the furthest most point of the North Island here in New Zealand. She tried getting there three times; but had car trouble and other obstacles "put" in her way; so she returned home back. But again, she was told to go there; and, this time, the "fire in her belly" (as she put it) was far too strong to ignore. She thought it best if she go by bus tour to make sure she got there!
Now, when the bus arrived, there was a lighthouse which most of the other tourists went to look at; but, she was drawn to go out to the farthest most point of the Cape... literally the "top" of the North Island. She said she stood on the cliff face and closed her eyes,... letting the cool breezes brush her face. Then, when she opened her eyes, she was looking at a totally different landscape. The sea was completely gone; and there was land as far as her eyes could see. She said it seemed to go on forever. She also felt as it the land itself had "lifted" much higher than it had been previously. After taking it all in, she once again closed her eyes; then opened them once again; and the scene was back to normal.
(Of course this fits in well with many predictions which have stated that New Zealand will gain heaps of land and will be joined to Australia .
I asked her if the whole of New Zealand would go under the sea before coming back up again; and she held out her hand and made a rolling and twisting motion, saying that, unfortunately, most of the country would go under; but some areas would stay above water
Now, before she left, she gave me a big hug and told me that the next morning I would wake up to the news that a dike in China had collapsed killing 100's of people. I woke up the next morning at 8am; turned on the radio; and that's exactly what was being said. I couldn't believe my ears. I rushed to my computer and looked up the news story on the Internet. How could she have been so spot on? How did she know?
Because of the significance of what had just happened I emailed Stan Deyo in Australia as I knew he would be interested in hearing what had happened. Over the next few days Stan and I would keep in touch as more of the story unfolded. As it turned out, my contacting Stan was another "link".
That link became very apparent two days later then I received another visit by the same Maori Elder, who asked me if I would print out all the data, maps etc from Stan Deyo's website. This included all of Jim Berkland's seismic work who also studied earthquake activity and other earth changes.
So she left my home loaded up to the eyeballs with printed matter to take back to the other Elders for them to study.
I was amazed that she even knew of Stan Deyo, because these kind of Maori keep VERY much to themselves; and I was told during one of her visits that they had no phone, no TV, no radio, no video.
During her second visit she told me that Lake Taupo would "blow" (her words); and, she added, she could take me to nearby places where there were valleys that would be filled with 100's and 100's of bodies just floating there after Taupo blows. Then, she went on with her other explanations of how the whole of New Zealand would be effected with all the twisting and turning it would have to endure (not a pretty thought!). Of course, I asked her when all this would happen and - just like the Hopis - she said "soon, very soon" but she did go a little further than that.
She said that there would be an event that was unrelated; but when this event happened, it would be a trigger for many major earth changes.... Again, this was to be in China. Not knowing much about China I didn't know what she was explaining to me until I again contacted Stan with her latest predictions.
She told me that in China there was a project that involved creating a dam, that they'd been working on for years, and it was not yet complete. She said work had stopped on it for various reasons; then she told me that up above this "channel" there were 1000's of logs or timber that were perched at the top of this "channel". Furthermore, over time, some had been stolen; but most were still there. She said that soon these logs would come crashing down killing 1000's; and, when this happened, it would be a sign for her people that these Earth changes were about to happen with great intensity.
Well since this made no sense to me whatsoever as I wasn't up on the play in China, I emailed Stan and asked him if he knew what she was talking about.
Stan replied immediately, telling me that he knew exactly what she was talking about as it was a "trigger" for him as well. It was the Three Gorges Dam Project in China which is to dam the Yangtze River. It will consume over 130,000 acres and stretch some 400 miles along the Yangtze. The trees are being cut and have been stockpiled for later uses including dikes. The Green group, the US Gov't and the World Bank - ALL have tried to stop this project as an environmental nightmare. It has displaced 2 million Chinese from their homes.
Well, when I received this confirmation in from Stan I really was shocked. Could this come true, was the Maori Elder correct? She certainly was 100% correct about the other prediction she'd given me. Time will tell if she is right about the second one.
“Is the super volcano Taupo awakening?” asks this headline on twawki.com.
The situation in NZ continues to alarm. A third volcano – Monowai, has erupted, emitting pumice that covers an area of ocean 50 km x 450km in size (10,000 sq. miles). It has one of the fastest growth rates for a volcano in recent history.
1800 years ago Taupo volcano in New Zealand had the largest volcanic eruption in the world for the last 5000 years. Taupo ejected over 30 cubic kilometers of material including a pyroclastic flow that moved at 600-900km/hr, traveling up mountains to a height of 1500m .
But even that massive eruption was dwarfed by the huge Taupo eruption just 26,500 years ago which plunged the earth into a volcanic winter & wiped out 60% of the population. From wikipedia;
The Oruanui eruption of the Taupo volcano was the world’s largest known eruption in the past 70,000 years, with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 8. It generated approximately 430 km³ of pyroclastic fall deposits, 320 km³ of pyroclastic density current (PDC) deposits and 420 km³ of primary intracaldera material, equivalent to 530 km³ of magma.
Modern Lake Taupo partly fills the caldera generated during this eruption.
This eruption was the largest volcanic eruption in the world in the last 70,000 years. When you consider the pyroclastic flows from this eruption were up to 100m deep (yes the height of a 30 story building), and extended up to 100km from the volcano then this is a volcanic area to keep a close eye upon. Especially as this volcano erupts every 2000 years and erupted around 1800 years ago.
The last 3 months has seen many small earthquakes around Taupo but there seems an increase in tectonic activity in recent years with a 6.5 quake just last year and another 5 quake last month. With volcanic eruptions Tongariro erupted unexpectedly this week with White Island erupting yesterday.
In 2006 Geologists warned Rotorua, Taupo and Whakatane are set to be wiped out in a massive overdue earthquake. An Alpine fault quake is a certainty where East Cape would rip away from New Zealand, destroying the plateau that Rotorua is based on and taking Taupo and Whakatane with it. It is only a matter of when.
“The interval since the last event (in 1717) is longer than any interval between known earlier events.”
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