Wednesday 21 November 2012

Behind you!

Now of these two volcanoes, which would you pick as being the most troublesome this year, in terms of eruptions, ash clouds, sulphurous fumes and disruption to air traffic and ground activities? The little classic cone, or the big shattered one? Trick question! It's actually the one that's so insignificant from the air that it's skulking under the cloud to the left of the photo.
Here it is, Tongariro, that negligible-looking lump on the left of Ngauruhoe's lovely cone. It erupted this afternoon, surprising all the seismic bods who were giving their attention to Ruapehu, which they had bumped up from alert level green to yellow because the crater lake was causing them concern. They'll no doubt be doing a lot of throat-clearing on the news tonight, feeling a little silly perhaps that they were looking the wrong way.

As this is Tongariro's second hissy fit this year, I know that we're in for diverted flights, reports of ash and sulphur smells from way downwind, and lots of frustrated Alpine Crossing walkers who'll be banned from the mountain, to the regret of local businesses. (They'll remember the date this time: it's a palindrome today - 21.11.12.)

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