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.
Hundreds have been injured in Kashmir and troops blocked worshipers from Friday prayers at large mosques for the 11th consecutive week
A fighter jet of Pakistan Air Force (PAF) crashed in Jamrud tehsil of Khyber Agency, spokesman said Saturday.
‘Captain Bram’ accused of masterminding attempt to smuggle 65 to New Zealand last year in boat intercepted by Australia
Turkish deputy minister says gathering an opportunity to express, share ideas at time when world needs unity and solidarity
Situation on the ground reached “equilibrium”, or “stalemate”, Army Gen. John Nicholson says
On Friday, an Ilyushin Il-76 military transport plane delivered the troops to Pakistan from their home base in southern Russia.
Military to continue fight against militants despite Moro rebel call for suspension during talks for hostages’ release
Deputy PM says if transferred, suspect in fatal 2003 Jakarta bombing to undergo deradicalization at Malaysian prison
Many in China are furious after a section of the Great wall was concreted over appearing to be an elevated pathway
India’s decade-long process to acquire new fighter jets is complete when the country signs a deal with France to buy 36 Rafale aircraft expected to be worth €8bn.
Trips arranged as part of Duterte administration’s plans to pursue independent foreign policy
The kingdom's Muslim-majority "deep south", an area bordering Malaysia, has seen near daily bombings and shootings since the most recent wave of rebellion erupted in 2004.
Trudeau confirms Canada exploring free trade agreement with China
US military reveals details of arrival in South Korea of dangerous aircraft, while Seoul ponders bold assassination attempt
‘They must also answer questions from me,’ Duterte says, challenging officials to public debate on his anti-drug campaign
Ny Chakrya accused court officials of corruption, claimed 2 villagers involved in land dispute were unjustly arrested