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article imageOp-Ed: Is New Zealand facing a possible natural disaster?

By Anne Sewell     Aug 10, 2012 in Environment
Digital Journal recently reported on Mt Tongariro, which has suddenly become active after 100 years. Today there was a report of volcanic rock floating in a huge raft off the coast of New Zealand. Yet another volcano is rumbling around a bit too.
After posting the article about the latest find of a raft of volcanic rock, probably from an undersea volcano, a friend on Google+ shared a bit of information.
Recently we heard about Mt Tongariro, which spewed out a whole load of volcanic smoke and ash, near the Ketetahi Hot Springs on North Island, New Zealand. This is the first time the volcano has been active for over 100 years. The activity caused roads to close and flights may be disrupted.
When previously reported, the volcano was on Aviation color code red. But now, at least, the aviation color code is yellow and the volcano alert level is 2.
Aviation color code yellow means, "Volcano is experiencing signs of elevated unrest above known background levels. Or, after a change from higher level: Volcanic activity has decreased significantly but continues to be closely monitored for possible renewed increase."
Alert level 2 means, "Onset of eruptive activity, accompanied by changes to monitored indicators."
According to Geonet, Tongariro is a complex of multiple volcanic cones constructed over a period of 275,000 years.
White Island Volcano in New Zealand
White Island Volcano in New Zealand
James Shook
Next to mention is the White Island volcano (Whakāri), which is 48 kms offshore. This is one of New Zealand's most active cone volcanoes. Around 70% of the volcano is under the sea, which makes this structure one of the largest in New Zealand. The White Island volcano is aviation color orange with a volcano alert level of 2.
Aviation color orange means, "Volcano is exhibiting heightened unrest with increased likelihood of eruption. Or: Volcanic eruption is underway with no or minor ash emission."
And now, we have a huge mass of small volcanic rocks, approximately the size of Belgium, floating off the coast of New Zealand. Which under water volcano did this come from, we wonder.
Another thing to bear in mind is that a solar eclipse will occur on 14 November around 10:30 AM New Zealand time, and this time the maximum eclipse will be almost over New Zealand, passing 1,100 miles to the east.
The writer of this article theorizes that solar eclipses can affect the environment. He says in the article:
"A magnitude 6 earthquake struck Japan as a total solar eclipse occurred on March 29, 2006 and within 24 hours the satellite responsible for NZ's SKY Network Television failed. On the 31st a 6.1-mag earthquake struck western Iran."
"Following the August 1999 solar eclipse, destructive floods came to France and Italy, major earthquakes occurred in Turkey and Greece, and a huge cyclone hit India. Martinique’s Mt. Pelee eruption in 1902 was preceded by a total lunar eclipse."
Scary thought. Let us hope they only rumble a bit, but not really give any trouble.
The image below was taken by NASA, close to Christchurch, New Zealand, and is believed to depict a former super-volcano:
Aerial view of Christchurch  New Zealand
Aerial view of Christchurch, New Zealand
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
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