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Taupo volcanic zone update – more eruptions likely

Update; GNS science hotspot map released showing areas most at risk;

With the Taupo volcanic zone in New Zealand starting to rumble back into life many have expressed an interest in what is going on in New Zealand. The NZ government has highlighted the extreme dangers of the zone and the need to be watchful.

Tests have revealed that magna is bubbling higher than normal in Tongariro Volcano meaning further eruptions are likely. “We’re now convinced that the likelihood of this just being a one-off has decreased,” said GNS vulcanologist Nico Fournier. This magma may be mere metres higher or worryingly kilometers higher.

With the decline of the earth’s magnetic field there is also concern that this correlates with an increase in global volcanism. Likewise the change in the sun’s sunspot cycle is also likely to be a contributing factor in increasing seismic and volcanic activity. Currently solar cycle 24 is almost flatlining creating a regime change that is likely to affect the earth in numerous ways.

OK here’s a list of online resources to keep up to date on the Taupo volcanic zone;

1. Geonet near real–time shaking intensity from New Zealand’s network of seismographs. Earthquakes are often a precursar to volcanic activity as movement of magma & plates often but not always precede erutptions. For global earthquake monitoring there are also the following sites;

USGS real time global earthquake map ; Live global earthquake map ; Global seismic monitor ; Earth alerts

2. Volcano alert system

The New Zealand volcano alert system is as follows (note it is not identical to the rest of the world);

Scientific Alert Level  Indicative Phenomena  Volcano Status 
0 Typical background surface activity; seismicity, deformation and heat flow at low levels.  Usual dormant, or quiescent state.
1 Apparent seismic, geodetic, thermal or other unrest indicators.  Initial signs of possible volcano unrest. No eruption threat. 
2 Increase in number or intensity of unrest indicators (seismicity, deformation, heat flow etc).  Confirmation of volcano unrest. Eruption threat. 
3 Minor steam eruptions. High-increasing trends of unrest indicators, significant effects on volcano, possibly beyond.  Minor eruptions commenced. Real possibility of hazardous eruptions.
4 Eruption of new magma. Sustained high levels of unrest indicators, significant effects beyond volcano.  Hazardous local eruption in progress. Large scale eruption now possible. 
5 Destruction with major damage beyond active volcano. Significant risk over wider areas. Large hazardous volcanic eruption in progress. 

NZ volcano updates can be viewed at the following sites;

GEOnet current volcanic activity updates ; NZ volcanic alert bulletins ; Volcanic ash advisoriesNew Zealand volcano updates ; USGS weekly volcanic update report ; NZ ministry of Civil defense ;

Also local news – like the NZ Herald can have volcano news. Volcanoes in New Zealand

And for interest here is a super volcano comparison. Taupo is the most recent super volcano to erupt, which it normally does every 1000 yrs or so, though the last eruption was 1800 years ago. Earth changes, 2012 and ancient knowledge. The Mayans, The Maoris inhabited New Zealand quite recently – from the 14th century. Many of their legends surround the volcanos and Lake Taupo as well. Lake Taupo characteristics & environment ;

While we are on the topic of NZ here is the real time Christchurch earthquake monitor.

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Is the super volcano Taupo awakening?

More updates now available at the newer post – click here

Update 3; OK this is getting more interesting and alarming by the day. The pumice debris in the ocean comes from a third erupting NZ volcano – Mt Monowai. This undersea volcano has one of the fastest growth rates of any modern volcano.Like with Krakatoa it is possible the pumice could find its way all the way to the Americas.

Meanwhile there is a 50% chance of further eruptions at Tongariro with a couple of thousand tonnes of sulphur dioxide gas having been emitted by the Volcano with lava bubbling under the surface.

Meanwhile it has been stated by scientists that previous eruptions in the Taupo volcanic zone would have been visible from Sydney Australia – such was the magnitude of them.

Update 2; Volcanic debris the size of Belgium found floating off the coast of NZ. More here

Update; Magna bubbles under Tongariro – further eruptions likely.

1800 years ago Taupo volcano in New Zealand had the largest volcanic eruption in the world for the last 5000 years. Taupo ejected over 30 cubic kilometers of material including a pyroclastic flow that moved at 600-900km/hr, traveling up mountains to a height of 1500m .

But even that massive eruption was dwarfed by the huge Taupo eruption just 26,500 years ago which plunged the earth into a volcanic winter & wiped out 60% of the population. From wikipedia;

The Oruanui eruption of the Taupo volcano was the world’s largest known eruption in the past 70,000 years, with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 8. It occurred around 26,500 years ago and generated approximately 430 km³ of pyroclastic fall deposits, 320 km³ of pyroclastic density current (PDC) deposits (mostly ignimbrite) and 420 km³ of primary intracaldera material, equivalent to 530 km³ of magma. [4] [5] [6]

Modern Lake Taupo partly fills the caldera generated during this eruption.

Tephra from the eruption covered much of the central North Island with ignimbrite up to 200 metres deep. Most of New Zealand was affected by ash fall, with even an 18 cm ash layer left on the Chatham Islands, 1,000 km away. Later erosion and sedimentation had long-lasting effects on the landscape, and caused the Waikato River to shift from the Hauraki Plains to its current course through the Waikato to the Tasman Sea.

This eruption was the largest volcanic eruption in the world in the last 70,000 years. When you consider the pyroclastic flows from this eruption were up to 100m deep (yes the height of a 30 story building), and extended up to 100km from the volcano then this is a volcanic area to keep a close eye upon. Especially as this volcano erupts every 2000 years and erupted around 1800 years ago.

Taupo volcanic zone is one of the most active in the world, The last 3 months has seen many small earthquakes around Taupo but there seems an increase in tectonic activity in recent years with a 6.5 quake just last year and another 5 quake last month. With volcanic eruptions Tongariro erupted unexpectedly this week with White Island erupting yesterday.

In 2006 Geologists warned Rotorua, Taupo and Whakatane are set to be wiped out in a massive overdue earthquake. An Alpine fault quake is a certainty where East Cape would rip away from New Zealand, destroying the plateau that Rotorua is based on and taking Taupo and Whakatane with it. It is only a matter of when. “The interval since the last event (in 1717) is longer than any interval between known earlier events.”

As Christchurch keeps getting hit with earthquakes & liquefaction is New Zealand waking up in accord with it’s cycles? There is also speculation that volcanic activity coincides with low sunspot activity – with solar cycle 24 flat-lining it will be nteresting times ahead!

The east coast of Australia is at risk from tsunami

Geothermal system of the Taupo volcanic zone ; Great lake Taupo ;

Tongariro eruption ash study & fluoride ; Tongariro volcano ;

Psychic predictions – Taupo will blow! ; Maori elder also says so ;

When will the next big eruption happen?

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