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SHAKE AND BLOW
More eruptions tipped as N. Zealand volcano disrupts flights
by Staff Writers
Wellington (AFP) Nov 22, 2012


6.1 magnitude quake in Chile: authorities
Santiago (AFP) Nov 21, 2012 - A 6.1 magnitude quake rocked central Chile on Wednesday but there were no immediate reports of damage or casualties, authorities said.

The earthquake occurred at 2136 GMT 35 kilometers (22 miles) west of Navidad, Chile, in the O'Higgins region south of Santiago, the University of Chile's Seismology Service reported.

The government's National Emergency Office issued a preliminary report saying there were "no reports of injuries to people, or alteration of basic services or infrastructure."

The Chilean navy's hydrographic and oceanographic service said there was no threat of a tsunami to the country's coast.

Lingering ash from a volcanic eruption in New Zealand disrupted flights across parts of the North Island on Thursday, as scientists warned the mountain could blow again at any time.

Mount Tongariro, in the centre of the North Island, erupted for the second time in four months on Wednesday after lying dormant for more than a century, spewing a column of ash three kilometres (1.9 miles) into the atmosphere.

Air New Zealand said flights to Rotorua resumed early on Thursday but services to Taupo and Gisborne would be subject to cancellations and delays until the ash cloud cleared, likely later in the day.

"The airline is working with the relevant authorities to safely make adjustments to flight routes to ensure aircraft remain clear of any ash and keep providing a safe service to the travelling public," it said.

The official monitoring body GNS Science said the volcano, which was used as a backdrop to Peter Jackson's hugely successful "The Lord of the Rings" films, was quiet overnight but remained unpredictable.

"We (can) expect another eruption of similar size at any time during the next few weeks," volcanologist Brad Scott said. "Eruptions are not expected to escalate in size."

Just days before the mountain rumbled to life, scientists warned that neighbouring Mount Ruapehu was ready to erupt as pressure builds in a subterranean vent.

They said there was no warning before the Tongariro blast and could not say if the activity at the two volcanoes was linked.

No injuries were reported from Wednesday's eruption but about 50 hikers scrambled for safety as ash billowed from the mountain.

With two volcanoes now active, the Department of Conservation said walking tracks and a number of roads in the Tongariro National Park had been closed until further notice.

New Zealand lies on the so-called "Pacific Ring of Fire", where the Earth's tectonic plates collide, making it a hotspot for volcanic and earthquake activity.

A eruption at Mount Ruapehu in 1953 caused New Zealand's worst rail disaster when it triggered a massive mudslide that washed away a bridge, causing a passenger train to plunge into a river with the loss of 151 lives.

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SHAKE AND BLOW
'Lord of the Rings' volcano erupts in New Zealand
Wellington (AFP) Nov 21, 2012
A New Zealand volcano used as a backdrop to "The Lord of the Rings" films erupted on Wednesday, spewing a column of ash three kilometres (1.9 miles) above the North Island, scientists said. Vulcanologists said Mount Tongariro rumbled to life at 1:25 pm (0025 GMT), in a five-minute burst that briefly closed roads, put aviation authorities on high alert and sent nearby hikers scrambling for sa ... read more


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