An Eruption

There has been a rumbling, spewing of ash and sulphur smells filling the air this week.  Do I hear you ask where?

Volcanoes in NZ

Here in New Zealand we have many volcanoes, most dormant, some extinct and some active.  As you can see from the map many volcanoes are centred around the middle of the North Island.

On Monday evening one of volcanoes erupted and we are told this was quite unexpected with no seismic activity being recorded in the area.   Mt Tongariro  in the centre of the North Island decided to put on a spectacular show for us.  The last time this particular “dormant” volcano erupted was in 1897 – a decidedly sleeping volcano.

Activity on the volcano settled down during Tuesday although steam was still billowing from the crater.  We are told that several new vents were formed during the eruption and today scientists confirm that there are three new crater lakes.  I was going to write here “Isn’t Nature wonderful?” but thought it might be read as a snide remark when in fact I meant it.

Rocks fell within 1km of the eruption, damaging  one of four trampers’ huts on the mountain, but there have been no reports of injuries.  Light ash fell as far away as Taupo and Napier ( about 140 kms) , while the smell of sulphur gas – similar to the “rotten eggs” smell experienced in Rotorua – had drifted to Wellington some 300 kms away.

One of our most active volcanoes is the neighbouring Mr Ruapehu.  I remember when Mount Ruapehu erupted in 1995 and again in 1996.  In 1995 we were going on holiday and driving past the mountain shortly after it erupted.  We were on the Desert Road that runs through the centre of the north island and here the mountain was clearly visible.  The ash that was thrown up settled on everything for miles around, including our car.  Traffic was stopped until the police determined that it was safe to continue so we had this unobstructed view of nature ‘throwing her toys out of the cot’.  But what a magnificent sight it was.  We were far enough away not to be in any danger and the police quickly determined it was safe for us to continue.

So while those of us who choose to live here call it “Godzone” we have several natural events to contend with.  Recently we have had earthquakes (and they are still continuing) tornadoes, floods and now volcanic eruptions, but Mother Nature keeps us entertained with her various shows of strength and wonderful activities.  We are never bored by Mother Nature.

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23 responses to “An Eruption

  1. We are bracing for hurricanes season here. I can’t imagine bracing for eruptions and the tremors that go with them. Be safe.


  2. Mother Nature is indeed amazing!!! And quite often scary. Right now I am sitting waiting for the storm to come–7 am and the sky is very dark and threatening looking but it is a much needed and welcome rain that we are awaiting so that is okay!!! Thanks for a peak into your world!


    • It’s amazing how Mother Nature works. She has spread herself around the world. some cope with hurricanes, some with floods and others with earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. I hope the rain came as it was needed in your part of the world. 🙂


  3. NZ is a delightfully volatile and unstable few islands. Still working on remaking itself.. Up until the chch earthquakes (where a good number of ,my family live) i quite enjoyed the earthquakes too.. c


    • Enjoyed the earthquakes. As a (now) Wellingtonian we are quite blase about them but I don’t think that those people in Christchurch are blase as they live with the constant aftershocks. 🙂


  4. Stay safe in the Godzone! At least with a hurricane we can be prepared.


    • And that’s the scary thing about earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. Usually they come without warning. But we do our best to be prepared. Thanks for the comment. 🙂


  5. Mother Nature shaking her apron again !


  6. I grew up with hurricanes in Florida and just learned (the hard way) in Virginia there is another kind of storm called a derecho, with straight line winds up to 100 miles an hour. That you are close enough to smell sulfur gas is amazing. Mother Nature is awesome and so is your post.


  7. Kind of scary that the scientists didn’t see this one coming!


  8. I would love to see that, Judith. I certainly don’t wish anyone to be harmed, but I love watching Mother Nature’s fury once in awhile. I am one who loves thunder, lightning, and wind.


  9. You certainly have your share of natural entertainment over there, Judith! I remember seeing a car in the dealership garage when I worked there. It had been in the Philippines during an eruption, I think, and shipped back here. There was ash everywhere! May you be kept safe.


  10. Wow, Judith, I hadn’t heard about this. Oddly enough, I just watched a special last week about volcanoes on National Geographic (or was it PBS – one of those educational channels, anyway). I’ve always wanted to see a live volcano & could kick myself for not having visited the Big Island when I lived in Hawaii. Stay safe & keep us updated!


    • We have many volcanoes here in NZ but we can get close to very few. I have no desire to get any closer anyway, but if you want to get close perhaps you will have the opportunity again some time in the future.


  11. I’m glad you’re a safe distance from it. I remember when the Icelandic volcano erupted and the UK got covered in ash, that was pretty horrible but nowhere near as bad as for the Icelanders. And yes – nature is wonderful, but also powerful and we’re just small creatures within it all.


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