Hobart 'Mercury' (Australia) - Thursday 28 September (local time) ON-AGAIN VOLCANO KEEPS KIWIS GUESSING Wellington - Reuter New Zealand's Mount Ruapehu volcano kicked back into life yesterday, belching ash and steam in a thermal display resembling an atomic mushroom cloud. Its latest outburst, seen for many kilometres, often obscured the sun. Scientists said the volcano had gone relatively quiet for most of the preceding day before spurting back into life overnight. Fleur Templeton at the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, said moderate volcanic tremors had resumed, their strength ebbing end newing, until a large volcanic quake had caused explosions at the crater early in the morning. Civil defence officials face the possibility of heightened volcanic activity for months. Ruepahu's previous biggest eruption this century, in 1945, lasted 10 months. "There is a definite possibility of a prolonged eruptive episode," Templeton said. Scientists yesterday installed extra equipment on the mountain in case instruments near the crater were obliterated. Miraculously, much of their equipment near the crater edge is intact. The eruption still carries a level four rating -- hazardous.