Ruapehu Update 008

Contributed by:
Dr Graeme Wheller, a Consultant Geologist
with Volcanex International Pty Ltd

Hobart 'Mercury' (Australia) - Thursday 28 September (local time)


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

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.