World Bulletin / News Desk
A New Zealand volcano dormant for more than a century has spewed boulders and spread an ash cloud over the centre of the country, disrupting air traffic but causing no other damage or injuries.
Mount Tongariro, one of three volcanic peaks in the central North Island, roared into life late on Monday night, as craters on the mountain located in a national park near popular hot springs, exploded with bright flashes and thunderous booms.
The spew of rocks, fine particles and steam from the snow-capped, 1,978-m (6,490-ft) peak, was caused by a pressure buildup of volcanic gases, volcanologists said, after seismic activity had increased in recent weeks.
Steve Sherburn, volcanologist at New Zealand's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, said the scale of the eruption was unexpected, as activity at the volcano had been sporadic before Monday's explosion.
"We haven't had any activity for several days so to go from what we had seen to an eruption last night was a little surprising," he said.
A cloud of ash billowed over the central North Island on Tuesday, blanketing the area with a thick, grey carpet of ash.
Flights to and from provincial destinations, including renowned tourist spot Rotorua, were delayed or cancelled on Tuesday, and local highways were closed for a time, but there were no reports of damage or injury.
Meteorologists said the ash cloud was being blown eastwards towards the Pacific Ocean.
The last time Mount Tongariro erupted was in 1897, ending a decades-long period of intermittent activity, and Sherburn said Monday's explosion could be the start of more such activity in the area.
"At the moment we really don't know, it could just be a singular event, or it could be the start of a period similar to what we've seen historically," he said.
Neighbouring Mount Ruapehu is the most active volcano in New Zealand, last erupting in 2007 when it sent a lahar, or mud slide, down the side of the mountain.
Major eruptions in 1995 and 1996 by Ruapehu resulted in widespread flights disruptions and the closure of ski fields on the mountain.
US Secretary of State Kerry expresses interest to work closely with Bangladesh to fight terrorism
Appealing for presidential mercy only option left for politician found guilty of war crimes during Bangladesh independence
An explosion has killed at least one person in the Chinese embassy in Kyrgyzstan
Canadian prime minister aims to strengthen economic ties with China
Warrant, third issued in connection with bombings that killed 4, for man from Muslim majority province of Pattani
The Uzbek president's daughter says her father is in the hospital with a brain hemorrhage.
Comes after over 170 Indonesians caught with Philippine passports before departing from Manila airport for Saudi Arabia
17-year-old held on suspicion of terror attack claims to be inspired by ISIL leader, attack by knifemen in France
Anti-mosquito breeding efforts intensifies as residents criticize government for not having detected infections earlier
Australian foreign minister says Kerry Wilson, 60, ‘safe and well’ 4 months after abduction in Jalalabad
Three people linked to 2009 assault on Sri Lankan cricket team die as gunmen open fire police convoy in Lahore
Presidential order repeated to destroy Daesh-linked group after Aug. 24 beheading of 18-year-old Filipino hostage
The five-day talks will bring hundreds of ethnic minority rebel leaders to the capital, along with military top brass and international delegates such as UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon.
Royal held talks with the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organisation, Massoumeh Ebtekar, and said they would build several key partnerships by February.
50 heavily-armed members of Maute group raid local jail in southern city of Marawi, freeing suspected comrades and 20 others