Published: Thu Feb 14 2013 10:00 AM
GNS Science says that activity at Tongariro remains low, but steam and gas plumes from the Te Maari area are always present.
Tongariro has had no eruptive activity since the explosion on 21 November 2012. Earthquake activity has been negligible since before the November 2012 eruption and the flux of volcanic gases has remained relatively stable for several months.
GNS volcanologist Brad Scott said, “After the eruption in November 2012 we had to consider the possibility that Tongariro might have entered an eruptive episode similar to one that occurred in the 1890s. However, we do not know if further eruptions will occur or if the Te Maari crater area will just quietly discharge steam for several years. If further eruptions do occur we have to expect that they might have little or no warning.”.
GNS Science head volcanologist Gill Jolly said, “It is difficult to be certain what will happen over the next few months, but we expect that eruptions substantially larger than that in August 2012 should give us some warning signs. ”
In recent weeks GNS Science have received several reports describing unusually strong steam emission from the Te Maari crater area. Some of these can be attributed to weather conditions but others probably reflect natural variability in the steam and gas emission rates.
The Volcanic Alert Level ranges from 0 to 5 and defines the current status at a volcano. Level 1 indicates volcanic unrest, with departures from background levels.
Aviation Colour Codes are based on four colours and are intended for quick reference only in the international civil aviation community. Code Yellow indicates that volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored.
Steven Sherburn Duty Volcanologist