A New Zealand volcano that was dormant for the past century erupted, sending an ash cloud high into the sky on Tuesday.
Scientists with New Zealand’s GNS Service said the “explosive eruption” lasted only for a minute or two and was “followed by a series of discrete small earthquakes over the next few tens of minutes.”
Since the volcano erupted late on Monday at around 11:50 p.m. local time, New Zealand’s Civil Defense said Tuesday that the “eruption threat has passed for now.”
“White steam clouds were observed at the historically active Te Maari craters area. There is no ash being produced from the volcano presently. There have been no lahars or pyroclastic flows or lava flows,” the Civil Defense website said.
The eruption disrupted flights in the country’s North Island and media footage shows ash covering areas near the volcano, reported The Australian Associated Press.
“It was just this huge mushroom,” Robyn Bennett, a local who lives near the mountain told Radio New Zealand, “like you see with the atomic bomb -- zooming up like that. And fireworks going off inside it like rocks firing out from all angles, and lightning going off.”
GeoNet, a New Zealand-based agency that monitors geological hazards, said that steam clouds were observed in craters on Tongariro and that, “It is too early to predict the next series of events, but we expect heightened activity may continue for several weeks. There are likely to be specific signals of future magma movement beneath the volcano.”
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