Volcanoes Waking Up/Japan and New Zealand
Japan Volcanoes Becoming Active/NZ Mt Ruapehu Heating Up
My Japanese friend in Wellington is off back to Japan tomorrow, 12 April 2011.. She told me that, ‘all the volcanoes in Japan have been sleeping, but now they are waking up’ – and not just in the North of Japan where the earthquake struck, but in the South of Japan as well.
A couple of weeks ago, a reader sent a comment in saying that a friend holidaying on the West Coast of New Zealand had reported many new hot pools appearing along the coast, where there hadn’t been any before.
Mt Ruapehu, one of New Zealand’s best known volcanoes in the North Island, because of skiing and tourist attractions in the region, does not want to be left out of the overview: It is heating up, along with those volcanoes in Japan, and has been given a level two warning status. The volcano on White Island in New Zealand is also reported to be heating up: This has been given a level one warning status.
Last week, Wednesday 6th April 2011, the New Zealand Herald gave us the update on Mt Ruapehu’s activity in an article written by environment reporter, Isaac Davison
‘Rumblings at Ruapehu spark alert for planes‘, reads the opening title.
Mt Ruapehu has had major eruptions in 1895, 1945, and 1995-96, and it is now certain that the crater lake is heating up again:: Three factors: increased heat flow, changes in chemistry, and earthquakes below the crater all point to increased activity within the core of Mount Ruapehu.
Mount Ruapehu last erupted in 2007, which was a seven minute long eruption. This caused two lahars, one of which ran into the Whakapapa Ski Field. Now, it is showing signs of seismic activity again, and this has prompted the authorities to declare a warning for planes flying near Ruapehu.
The last two major lahars were recorded in 1953 and 2007, according to the article – I wonder – was there an eruption, then, in 1953 as well?
There is an alert system in place for imminent eruptions: This has been lifted from level one to level two out of four. This is a yellow alert.
Aviation Alert Warning Colours: The colours used for aviation purposes are green for level one, which is low, yellow for level two; Orange for level three; and Red for Danger Level Four. Having said this, the article also says that Mt Ruapehu can erupt without warning.
The current temperature is around 39C, but it has been up to 41C on 1st March.
More earthquakes have been detected in recent months – 12 since December, at a level of 6 kilometres below the surface.
More magnesium has been detected, and this is a sign that molten rock has come into contact with the crater lake. More carbon diooxide is also another sign that molten matter lies fairly close to the surface of the volcano.
Skiing at Mt Ruapehu’s Whakapapa
From the article by Nicholas Jones, NZ Herald April 6th, 2011, we glean that:
Apart from the alert on the volcanic activity at Mt Ruapehu, the skiing season at ‘The Mount’ looks to be promising, with an early fall of snow, 10-15 cm deep, on April 5th, 2011. Apparently, this year’s Niwa climate outlook will be closer to that experienced in 2008, which was the best season ever, in terms of snowfall. This should be good news to skiers who had a lean season last year due to light snowfall and bad weekend weather.
The Whakapapa Ski Field at Mt Ruapehu is due to open on 25 June, 2011.