New Zealand volcano shows signs of activity after 35 years of dormancy- alert status raised

July 20, 2012 NEW ZEALANDA ‘sudden rise’ in volcanic activity at Mt Tongariro has prompted scientists to lift its volcanic alert status for the first time. But local businesses and conservation authorities remain unconcerned as they seek to reassure visitors it is ‘business as usual’ at National Park. GNS Science this afternoon lifted Mt Tongariro’s volcanic alert status from level zero to level one, and increased the aviation status from green to yellow. It said a series of more than 20 small volcanic earthquakes had been recorded at Tongariro since July 13 – more than the average of two per year according to historic seismic data. The quakes, below a magnitude of 2.5 and between 2-7km deep, were recorded in a cluster zone between Emerald Crater and Te Maari craters. The sequence of earthquakes soon declined but restarted on Wednesday and increased in number yesterday and today. GNS volcanologist Brad Scott said it was the first time the alert level had been lifted at Tongariro since the alert system was introduced. “It’s displaying some form of unrest. We don’t know exactly what’s driving it, if we did we’d be saying.” Mt Tongariro is a volcanic complex that lies to the north of Ngauruhoe and consists of numerous craters and vents. There are six alert levels of volcanic action, increasing in seriousness from zero to five. Alert level one indicates “signs of volcano unrest.” For the alert level to be lifted to two – “minor eruptive activity” – there would need to be an eruption and there was no indication that would happen. The aviation status yellow also acts as a warning of increased unrest. Department of Conservation local conservation analyst Harry Keys said GNS Science was dealing with the matter and the department did not need to take any action at this stage. The popular Tongariro Alpine Crossing passed close to Te Maari craters, where the most recent ash eruptions took place from 1855 to 1897. But there was no hazard at the moment and the crossing would remain open to the public. “There are public safety matters if the volcano starts getting active, but at the moment the volcano is not getting active and it may not ever get active,” he said. “We’ve got everything ready if we have to do anything. We will then go to the next stage, but at the moment we’re not doing anything.” –NZ Herald
The volcano, on the North Island,  last erupted in 1977
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This entry was posted in Earth Changes, Earth Watch, Earthquake Omens?, High-risk potential hazard zone, Potential Earthchange hotspot, Seismic tremors, Signs of Magnetic Field weakening, Time - Event Acceleration, Volcano Watch. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to New Zealand volcano shows signs of activity after 35 years of dormancy- alert status raised

  1. Artoro says:

    Famous last words, “We’ve got everything ready if we have to do anything”. Unless the level goes from zero to five in a few minutes. Money makes whatever is happening safe. Wouldn’t want the tourist to leave the area.

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  2. Irene C says:

    ” ‘business as usual’ at National Park.” I like that. Can’t scare away the tourist dollars. Okay, I must be tired. Sarcasm is setting in.

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    • Donna says:

      Don’t worry….they feed us the same rubbish in Canterbury. :( Don’t worry….no more earthquakes for 200 years….relax.

      Then why am I and the people I know more wired and stressed than ever before, feeling like another large one is coming? Noone trusts what they say here anymore…they’d openly lie anyway to avoid panic.

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      • Lester says:

        must b stressful,not knowing the “if” and “when”. No offense to ppl who live on islands, but I’d b packing and moving to bigger land mass.I believe the nxt yr will not b a fun ride on earth.

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  3. SameAsMost says:

    Alvin will you be doing a 6 month review of the year like your 3 month recap seeing all as a whole is hard to deny?

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  4. Eileen Eichler says:

    Actually, it’s not that dangerous a volcano. I remember my son in law saying that ‘once when he was on the slopes of Tongariro it started chucking rocks at him, so he thought that he’d better leave.’
    Ruapehu has been somewhat permanently on alert status 1, along with White Island. Once Ruapehu erupted during the tourist season causing the mountain ski fields to be cleared, there were I think, no deaths and not many injuries.
    That being said, I have been watching our volcanoes, as with so many on the ring of fire erupting I thought it likely that they may follow suit and do so as well. There are many more than the main three on the central plateau, and in more populous areas as well.
    It seems to me that our motto must be ‘ In God we trust.’

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  5. Roger says:

    For other ‘kiwis’, and all others who are interested, here is a link to the local GNS site http://www.geonet.org.nz/ where current Volcano status, and recent Earthquake activity, may be found.
    Just click on the relevant tab, and explore :-)

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  6. Jim Randall says:

    Thinking of all of the volcanic activity lately, with earthquakes in places they are not supposed to be happening , and the odd dormant volcano coming to life after so many years etc, Im find myself thinking more nowadays about that beautiful sunset silhouetted “dormant” volcano in a beautiful harbour – Rangitoto Island- up here in Auckland …

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  7. Eileen Eichler says:

    Rangitoto was one of the volcanoes that I was thinking of. Then there is Mount Edgecumbe and Kakepuku near Te Awamutu, Taranaki etc. I think that Mnt. Te Aroha is volcanic, Pirongia as well, and so it goes
    May God hold us in the safety of his hand.
    As for the earthquakes, as Donna has commented, information is not exactly spread around generously; they haven’t stopped, ( the quakes ) more than 11000 of them now, with a strange small fairly continuous quiver running through our days. I guess that time will tell and we can but wait.
    As Tiny Tim said…’ May God bless us every one’……

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