Tongariro, brief eruption on November 21th.

Shortly after midnight (CET) lughduniense alerted us here at vC that Tongariro had erupted and pointed to it´s camera.
After reading a lot of articles today and checking info from other sites listed below, i sum it up as this: A very short eruption took place during daytime when quite some hikers were on the mountain. It came with no real warning but caused no damage, neither for humans nor for infrastructure, cars or airplanes. The plume rose to a height of a little over 3km. The aviation code is  now at red but the drumbeats decreased right after the eruption and it does not look as if a new next eruption is imminent.

Inge had shown interest in the Te Maari craters yesterday and some of the links below are from this and the follow-up comments. So at least i will have a close eye on the next volcano she is really intered in.  😉
A download of 7.6MB is available showing an animation from the 21.11. eruption from this site and the drum beat image originantes there too. Or look at it directly at

You can find the termor measurements called volcanic drums in New Zealand at:

The seimogramms shortly after the eruption taken from the site linked below.

The local volcanologist said it was a short eruption which only lasted for less than 5 minutes. Full report here:

Claude Grandpey has the news too.
As does Volcanodiscovery:

Here are images of the Tee Maari Craters.

GeoNet NZ has a fotostream on Flickr:
There are no new images there yet but there might be soon.

A short video ( loading very slwoly) pointed out by Lucas Wilson:  The kids are yelling: “We are all gonna die!” at some point in this video! No worries, noone was harmed and no damage was done. But people up on that mountain sure had a rapid heartbeat and afterwards, if they cared to turn around, a nice view.

Articles reporting the eruption.

A GNS field trip took place by the end of September 2012 The page has some very nice images with additional infomation drawn into them!

VC had 2 post on the eruption in August

And below are some of the links i collected back then.—tongariro-national-park/visitor-information/web-cams/other-listings/ ( diashow)


139 thoughts on “Tongariro, brief eruption on November 21th.

  1. We suffered severe withdrawal symptoms from eruptions so when one finally decides to burp, this chance was a too good opportunity to let it slip. I had to do a post even tough it is mostly a link collection and not a realy article.
    So please continue reading and commenting on Bruce brilliant series about Taupo!
    The Taupo Volcanic Zone – Part 3 Click here or check older posts.

  2. Wow, you’d make an excellent librarian!! All those links so quickly! I can remember the days of Chaiten when it took days to actually get any information and there was nowhere on the internet to discuss it (apart from a few bizarre exceptions, like Seablogger). Nowadays we get a huge flood of information within hours. Fantastic.

      • LOL at “black belt in Google-Fu” – mind if I borrow that one?

        Can anyone tell me what the straight track across the dome of the nearest to the camera of the three volcanoes in the DM photo is above (2nd photo down)? Is it a path? Or some sort of fault line?

    • Thats fine, i tried to grab as many informational links as i could but thats why people can leave comments. To add to the post and to discuss it.

  3. @ Inge I had a look at the screenshots and I think what you are probably seeing is the nice dome shape formed by the lower Te Maari crater with the fumarolic activity from the new activity surrounding it, making it look like a new cone. Here’s a picture from my cousin taken a day after the eruption in August:


    You can sort of see how the shapes of the land make it look like a new cone.

  4. Wow Bruce – your timing has been impeccable! Right on cue Tongariro erupts! I was going to import the link from the Guardian – which had an interview with Geonet – but I expect it is in the other links too.

    That was amazingly quick on the draw there Spica!
    It may have only lasted 5 minutes but they are suggesting this was just a prequel – very neat

  5. I hate holiday traffic. Always packed for hundreds of miles, everyone showing off their shiny new Egos™

    For some odd reason… both sides (Eastbound and Westbound) of I-10 were reduced to single lanes for paving operations. My guess is that the road had probably been pretty torn up from an accident and had to be resurfaced. They only did about 100 foot section and they had the State troopers on both sides watching for idiots.

    Meanwhile… Bruce may or may not like me now.

    “Origins of cold-wet-oxidizing to hot-dry-reducing rhyolite magma cycles and distribution in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand” Deering et al (2010)

    Distributed Energy Roles for Geothermal Resources in New Zealand” White and Wilkinson (2008)

    In general, the Geothermal Gradient for the TVZ is >33°C/km for the not specifically hot areas.

    Heat Output from Spreading and Rifting Models of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand” Weir (2001)

    Downsag and extension at calderas: new perspectives on collapse geometries from ice-melt, mining, and volcanic subsidence” Branney (1995)

    Structural control of volcanism and caldera development in the transtensional Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand” Spinks et al (2004)

    Tephra studies in New Zealand: an historical review“. Lowe (1990)

    Deep electrical structure of the Central Volcanic Region and Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand” Ingham (2005)

    All links were operable at the time I pulled the documents.

    • Using a background gradient of 33°C/km, a Specific Heat of 790 J/kg K and a density of 2700 kg/m³… mainly since I couldn’t find a good representative for Greywhake, (those values are for Granite), I ran a simulation on heat loss for something the size of Whakamaru over a 200la period, then put a Taupo sized vent in there and ran for another 22ka.

      In a nutshell… it ain’t pretty. Temperatures over 800°C are just 4 to 6 miles down in some places. No wonder the quakes at lower levels are sparse. I have an a eerie feeling that my idea of “dead zones” being characteristic of areas of hot material could be very accurate.

      What that means… is that everything is there for some sort of eruption, all it needs is a reason to go. A release of stress on the spreading area, an infusion of basalt from down low… which we may not even get a hint of seismically (at least on the usual public seismo feeds, I’m sure that microtremors would alert the researchers if it happened), or whatever else that could trigger it.

      And… as Yellowstone and Campi Flegrei show, it could be quite some time before anything pops up… Hell, Urutuncu could even go first.

      The best bet is to just sit back and enjoy the sporadic festivities of Mt Doom as it launches Hobbits and Elves into the air…

    • 😀 Yeah, go on, make me miss all my work deadlines…
      You know what my ideal car would look like? It would be a programable one of these:

      It would have an inner cell that stayed horizontal, a bean sack to sit in and mobile internet connectivity. You wouldn’t have to drive it as it would auto pilot itself on magnetic streets to your destination and then I could spend the entire time reading scientific papers on the way to work – and it would be safe as houses as well as have inbuilt tsunami protection.. it would just float right out of there..
      … off to patent office.

      • My perfect car has an enormous amount of torque and power, immense ground clearance and hugest tires. But in a perfect world, I own a jet pack. And I mean one that allows me to do more than a 20m flight with a failed landing… I just love the idea of landing my jetpack in front of my office’s door a 7 o’clock in the morning, with the meanest smile after having felt like superman without a cape for half an hour…
        Especially, everything that has to do with perfection let’s me live far away from administrative, law or IT issues.
        Whatever, as perfection seems quite far away, please order one of your vehicles for me too. Maybe we get a special prize if we buy them together…

        • Hmm Perfect car… I’m building one for me(rwd, first combination 220hp/900kg), and when it works fine I’ll add turbo&NOS to get 4-500hp.. and my friend has my old Hilux with 3l v6, 35″tires and 6″ lift, We are planning to install a MKiv Supra engine to it next summer ith single turbo conversion, should be about 600 hp, Good for offroading 😀

  6. Curious, how is this different than any caldera system?

    Wouldn’t that imply that most caldera systems with large rhyolitic chambers (basically any “supervolcano”) would simply need a basalt infusion to set it off? Or is the evidence of high heat at shallow depths more evidence that the TVZ is more “ready” to go than other areas?

    Also, since it seems to be a pattern in large rhyolitic calderas that mixing of more mafic magma with a rhyolite chamber causes the big eruptions, what would that imply for caldera inflation & eruptions?

    • Good questions and I don’t know the answers! We might not know until we actually witness one of these things going off. What I suspect is that the inflation of a caldera system like at Campi Flegri recently was caused by a mafic intrusion. Possibly these intrusions happen quite frequently without triggering an eruption. But such an influx of heat would keep the magma chamber / mush zone at a relatively high temperature and make a future eruption more likely. Remember that hot stuff is more ductile and therefore also more accommodating of structural forces without snapping (hence their tendency to go up and down without any crisis occuring). Just idle thoughts… I am really at the end of my knowledge here. We really need someone who knows more about this stuff.

    • Cbus20122 says:
      November 22, 2012 at 03:57

      Curious, how is this different than any caldera system?

      Really, it isn’t. Large systems like this … and the associated “zones” all seem to have high(er) gradients. That puts rock above the granite solidus temperature in regions as shallow as about 4 to 5km. If it’s above that temp, then is is pretty much a mush zone, with melt percentage going up the hotter/deeper you get. GL Edit: Pressure and composition permitting.

      Wouldn’t that imply that most caldera systems with large rhyolitic chambers (basically any “supervolcano”) would simply need a basalt infusion to set it off?

      I imagine that at it’s start… something like that occurs. How fast/slow depends on the relative buoyancy of the intrusion, and if it can mobilize enough gas rich ryolite faster than it can degas. If it’s too fast, it punches right on through and triggers an initial basalt eruption. Too slow and it just keeps the stove on simmer or eventually makes a pluton. Just right and it can allow the “chamber” to develop enough pressure that when the brittle region gives way, it goes “full-on,” provided enough material has accumulated for it to do anything nasty. If not, then it’s just another dome building event.

  7. What do you do when a load of shit was just put on your back? The guy that is responsible for the mess stands in front of you and lies the hell out of himself to try to appear innocent. You look straight into his eyes but he can’t look back. Well, you shake hit cold, wet hand after having told him how you’ll solve the issue, sit down, make 2 emails to explain some people you’ll not manage to do what was promised in the defined time, plan some overtime and hope some more weight during your lunch-time workout will help your mental digestion…
    There are moments when I really am looking forward to december 21… 🙂
    Thanks all for keeping us all updated with the ongoing eruption. What’s frustrating: looking at seisemic data before the eruption, I’d have been unable to make a precise prediction.

  8. Well Done Tongariro for picking up the baton for volcanic eruptions in 2012. Just a note, the eruption seems to have created a larger crater where the old August 6 vents were.

  9. Another note, Tom (or Mr.T as I call him) is away in Indonesia doing a tour until December 10. So i’m in charge of doing all the updates, so if anyone has heard of any eruptions ongoing or new, please let me know 🙂

  10. For GeoLurking:

    My fellow man I do not care for
    I often ask myself;
    Whatever is he here for?
    The only answer that I can find,
    is the reproduction of his kind

    Ogden Nash

    • Oh yeah, force me to use my brain for introspection before I’ve had coffee. Two specific lines of thought follow reading that… and both seem to be quite accurate.

      Of course, it did serve to recall a Nugent song from years ago. I won’t link it due to it not being a Friday. “Dog eat Dog” by Ted Nugent… off the “Free For All” album. Other than a couple of songs the album is not that notable.

      • Mea culpa, maxima culpa. It was just that your wonderfully acerbic comment about Holiday Traffic seemed straight out of Nash.

      • No prob. I kind of like the way it works.

        If I can derive a nuanced meaning from something, though private and internal, while agreeing with the overt meaning… I’m pleased.

        On one hand, it’s a very accurate observation of society in general that is pretty much a dead ringer for how I view people… yet on a separate scale, what I do here is to try and foster and support an interest in things geologic. In essence fitting the latter part of that poem myself.

        Though the motivation was unintended, that’s pretty much what it is.

        • Don’t we all, it’s only that those numerically superior hold an as unfair as decisive advantage. 3 – 6 on the Bell Curve in a democracy, recipe for disaster.

    • Small glacier run in Grímsvötn. .. ehm … I don’t want to put mysefl in the foreground here, but … ehm … may I remind you of my comment of Nov. 21, 13:51 … this is getting a bit weird now …

      I think I should chose next a volcano near the Antarctis or at some other r e a ll y isolated place now to get interested in. 🙂

    • yikes, that’s a bad misnomer if ever there was one. None of these are volcanoes are reawakening NOW. They almost certainly will at some stage in the future but they are NOT doing it right now.

  11. Never Mind Geoloco’s Lizards……. 2012er Doomsdayers had better watch out……..
    The Festive Turkeys WILL get their revenge!!!!
    Happy Thanksgiving to all our friends in the USA.

  12. Normal Stromboli webcams back up – much more active than normal. Looks like a new small fountain has started, visible on both the ‘Pizzo’ cam (which looks down on the crater area) and the ‘Q400’ cam (that looks up at the area from the side of the Sciara del Fuoco)

  13. Glacier run from Grímsvötn volcano: Acc. to the volcanologist Finnur Pálsson (from RÚV) , a small glacier run has begun in Grímsvötn. The ice over the subglacial lakes went down by 10 m in 1 day. This means that the water has started to run down under the glacier to the river Gígja (which is on the famous Skeidarársandur, inundated in the floods from the 1996 glacier run). Since 1996 the runs have been rather small, esp. as the last one was just one year ago.

    In the evening, as the glacier run is really small (like in 2008), the scientists decided to delay an intended field trip.

    These days there has been some small run also in the river Skaftá: from normal 130cm up to 210 at Kirkjubaejarklaustur.

    • Yes, I was wondering that too! Very strange indeed. The Galactic Emperor Ming must have zapped it. But: I was also wondering if this may have been a volcanic island that withered away over time? Look at the underground, i’s on a sea mount…

  14. INGV report about Stromboli activity today. (Google translation):

    “We report the occurrence to 13:17 (GMT) today an explosion seismic signal amplitude higher than the daily average. The VLP signal associated with that event has an amplitude approximately 7 times higher than the daily average. The event was followed by an increase of the amplitude of tremor on medium to high lasted about 10 minutes.”

    • I remember you saying yr son (in law?) did the fried turkey last year, was it your turn this time? I do like the concept, why fcuk around with an oven?

    • Yeah, he did it last year. Fried turkey is sort of the … “in” thing, but I’ve been frying them since about 1986.

      My aunt… who worked in New Orleans introduced the idea to us… she had picked it up from some of her co-workers.

      Generally, I hate turkey. Always like chewing flavored cardboard. Fried?… now your talking. Good eats there.

      A bit dangerous to do… Peanut oil can handle the high temps without breaking down, and a novice will always freak-out when the roil happens as you slowly drop the bird in… and if you do, and drop it fast… you have hot oil coming back out, phreatic style since the moisture in the birds tissues flash to steam.

      A common screw-up is to over fill your vat. You want just enough to cover the bird. I monitor the temperature with an infra-red thermometer (the kind with a laser pointer on it) I find it’s much safer than trying to jockey a lid and thermometer around to keep it in the oil.

      This year, since the step-son is stove up, and I’m pissed off at one of the grandkids, and opted not to start a “scene” at his mom’s house, I decided to just do a few Turkey breasts. I messed up, thinking that they were separated breasts. I was going to do them one at a time in a small fryer in the house. Discovering that they were whole breasts… I had to change tack… and quickly. Fortunately I already had everything I needed and had the birds started up in 15 minutes. (no, not cooked in 15 minutes, I don’t like getting sick.. started cooking in 15 minutes

      A good rule of thumb is 3.5 minutes per pound at 350° to 375° F. Oh, and be sure to shoot them up with Butter sauce and Spice with the hypodermic needle first.

      • I’ll suggest it to Lizzie’s mum for Christmas dinner!!! It’s clearly the way forward. 😉
        A couple of turkey legs make a nice curry; brown, then cook schlowly in an sauce for a nour or 2.

      • Just make sure you do it away from the house and in an area where a few gallons of hot oil will do little damage if you mess up.

        Peanut oil has a higher break-down temperature and is less likely to ignite if you mess up… but it can if you work at it or force the issue.

        You also want to keep your dog away from it. Trust me.

      • So, whole breasts could be 10 pounds or so? In England we call them crowns which is the whole turkey less the juicy bits…

        • I did two sets. One 7 lb the other 8 lbs.

          Moderate sized.

          The only problem I ran into was the the large treble hook that you ordinarily run up through the middle of the bird came loose on one set and the bird broke free… drifting in the oil. I had planned for this contingency and had a long bar-b-que fork and tongs to retrieve it… plus a stainless steel bowl to put it in once I got it out.

          I added the bowls to my ensemble about a year ago. Handy if you don’t have a spare body to hold a pan under the bird as you bring it back into the house. Foil it over and it stays hot until you get ready to carve it. I recommend a serrated blade so you can get through the skin.. it will be crusty. Inside… pure bliss of moist yummy goodness.

      • For the gravy, you may have an issue since the “pan drippings” are about 3 to 5 gallons of peanut oil. Not the best starter.

        If you want to do a gravy, I recommend boiling up the gizzards or neck and using that broth to start the gravy.

        Personally, I’m not really a “gravy” person… unless its a pan gravy that I made myself for my biscuits. That’s not really good with turkey I guess.

          • Dunno… but I did two punkin pies and a pecan pie at 2 am. I’m a sucker for pecan pies, and don’t like punkin pies… but mine usually turn out better than store bought. I also cheat…

            As insurance to keep them from being runny, I add about two teaspoons of cornstarch.

        • Giblet gravy! I just had some that was to die for.Could’ve if that picece of dry overcooked
          turkey had stuck in my throat…I second frying. If you like to cook on edge of disaster,
          and have nerve it is worth it…

          • You are defiantly definately correct on that. It’s not something to do if you haven’t thought it out first.

            In the following vid, one of the more glaring mistakes: Notice that they are on a wooden deck. If they tip that flaming mess over, instant “you ain’t puttin’ that with a garden hose” sort of event.

            And that box of baking soda? That ain’t gonna cut it.

            I haven’t watched it through, but putting the lid on is the best 1st step.

            In all likelihood… they had too much oil.

            In the next vid… a demo by a fire department, is a clear indication of what too much oil can do.

            About the only way to make it worse, is to not defrost the turkey first. They can rupture quite energetically… and that can cause a miniature Lituya Bay event inside your cook pot.

          • Geez those klowns were lucky. One no one got rid of the propane until well into the video.
            that would have been GONE! I Another thing the wood deck!ARRGH!. I have fought mostly wildland fire but every now and then there is one idiot who manages to burn
            the neighborhood, his house and about 2500 acres… One time I was fueling a
            DC-7 (I think it was 66 not my usual mount 62) and there was a Stack fire on #2 PRT
            Exhaust. this was over the wing the fuel truck was run by someoen who knew what he was doing (an old Ag Pilot) he simply unhooked the huge CO2 bottle he kept on the
            top deck of the fuel truck threw me the hose/ nozzle and i blew it out..
            turns out that PRT (Power Return Turbine-complex ,touchy, but very efficent the
            R-3350 could burn 30% less fuel at higher power than a Pratt&Whitney R-2800.)
            was in the process of blowing an oil seal..We shut down with a hot PRT full of
            60wt oil..Looked a lot like the Turkey Fryer…It didn’t cook off until I was out on the wing
            with a fuel hose and 5000gal of 100LL avgas within a couple of feet…
            Here is a You tube on the subject of “waking the Dragon” You can see why
            i don’t min things that make somke and noise(Like volcanoes..)

  15. try it again after sneezing and hitting ‘send at the same time.
    I don’t mind things that make smoke and noise(Like Volcanoes) here is that You Tube:

      • Yeah that is a bit interesting when #2 starts “Running Backward” I can tell you if
        that happened there would be part numbers in the oil screen…

        • One other thing that was shot at Butler Aircraft- at the old Redmond Or. base.
          The Three Sisters in the Background…

        • I had an R-2800 destroy itself on takeoff out of Winsow with a load when they pulled
          the cowling there were whole cylinders and piston tops in the bottom…That was
          interesting… I had exactly 4 hours in a DC6 at the time..

        • I am reminded of the ancient motor racing cartoon… couple of chaps watching a car heading down the pits straight, when it does a mechanical hand grenade impersonation. Looking at the collection of bits being projected skywards from the hole in the hood, one chap remarks to the other ‘ah yes, that must be the 16 valve engine…’

          • Yep the only times I ever had a complete failure of an engine i.e.bits and pieces exiting
            the block was twice with a R-2800 the R-3350 was always a handful to manage but it
            would usually fail in bit, PRT here, valve guide there but not just blowing itself up…
            The 2800 could take more abuse, but that showed when you flew somone else’s
            plane that didn’t take care of it… then there was the P&W R-4360 which had 28 cylnders.
            “Jets are for Kids..”

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