Explosion on Mt Tongariro

Three months ago, Mt Tongariro erupted, sending a cloud of ash into the sky. Today the same thing happened and it happened suddenly, without any early signs or noise. Again it sent a cloud of ash into the sky, about 5000m high.

Listen to August 8th 2012 to hear more about this.

At this time of year, the Tongariro Crossing is a very popular track with New Zealanders and overseas tourists. The mountain is nearly 2,000m high but not steep. The track crosses from one side of the mountain, over the top to the other side, 19km long. It is a one-day journey on foot.

About 100 school children were on the mountain at the time of the eruption. A teacher was talking to one group, when suddenly the children called out, “Look!” He turned around to look, then shouted to the children to run down the mountain as fast as possible. However, no one was injured because there were no rocks with the ash and the ash went straight up into the sky.

This eruption lasted only about 5 minutes. Geologists do not know if there will be any more volcanic activity in the next few days. Meanwhile the Tongariro Crossing is closed and small aeroplanes cannot fly over that area.


• Mt – mount, mountain
• erupt – an explosion from a volcano
• ash – grey powder e.g. after a fire
• geologists – scientists who study the earth
• volcanic – adjective from volcano

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