Update: The first images are starting to appear on the internet:
|The ash cloud drifts east with the prevailing wind. Image taken at first light this morning. |
I woke up early rather suddenly this morning, wide awake. I switched on the radio and the first thing I heard was that Mount Tongariro, one of our central three volcanoes unexpectedly erupted yesterday just before midnight.
The last time Tongariro erupted was 1897 - there were five eruptions between 1855 and 1897.
|Tongariro, showing Ketetahi Springs, June 1981.|
|The major volcanoes, the North Island of New Zealand|
Civil defense have warned that roads are closed over the Central Plateau, and this eruption could affect Hawkes Bay, Waikato, Mauwatu, Taranaki and my own area Bay of Plenty. People are being warned that if there is ash in the air they should stay indoors, closing windows and doors. If going out you should wear a dust mask or cloth over your mouth and nose.
Airports are monitoring the situation, but have issued a code red, so aircraft will be avoiding this air space. Ash is dangerous as it can clog engines.
The TV has no pictures yet except of the ash on some twigs and some reporter's fingers and as it's not light yet, one-one knows much except what truckies reported overnight.
The latest information this morning comes from the breakfast television shows, The National Business Review and Stuff.
This eruption has surprised the science team that monitor these volcanoes. The last two weeks has shown some seismic activity but it had slackened off. They don't think it's over, but don't really know how it will progress.
|The author sitting just below the crater rim, May 1981|
Ironically, eyes in the Bay of Plenty were on the active White Island, just off the coast, which had some volcanic activity on Sunday.
|Ketetahi Springs June 1981|
|View from the slopes of Tongariro June 1981|