More ‘proof’ the end is near…
New Zealand’s Mt Tongariro volcano has erupted for the first time in more than a century, spewing ash and prompting a threat warning for the central North Island.
Police were alerted to the eruption shortly before midnight on Monday by a member of the public who reported seeing “flame-like explosions” and a cloud of ash coming from “a new hole in the side of the mountain”.
There have been no reports of injuries or damage.
Police closed the Desert Road (State Highway 1) between Rangipo and Waiouru and State Highway 46 west of Rangipo, and had received reports of light ash falling on both roads.
They had also received reports of ash falling as far east as State Highway 5 near Te Haroto and onto Napier City itself.
Police and the Department of Conservation (DOC) were preparing to check nearby tramping huts at first light on Tuesday.
Authorities said there had been some self-evacuation by locals, but authorities had not ordered an evacuation.
GNS Science is monitoring the seismic activity on the mountain, and has raised its aviation colour code to red, meaning it is likely a significant amount of ash will be emitted into the atmosphere.
Mt Tongariro last erupted from November 1896 until October 1897, following eruptions in 1869 and 1892.