Photograph by Stefan Keller, Reuters
Published November 21, 2012
Mount Tongariro, situated in a remote part of the country's North Island, erupted for five minutes on November 21, spewing clouds of ash 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) high. In August, the 6,490-foot (1,978-meter) Tongariro had erupted for the first time since 1897. (Video: Volcano 101.)
Though the recent activity seems to have ebbed, scientists have predicted another eruption of similar size will occur in the next few weeks, according to the New Zealand Herald.
Several flights were canceled on New Zealand's North Island. Previous eruptions—notably of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010—have crippled air travel on a global scale.
"Very often volcanic ash contains microscopic fragments of volcanic glass ... and the turbine engines of commercial aircraft produce a level of heat sufficient to melt glass," Steven Miller, of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University, told NASA's Earth Observatory in August.
"The ash can melt onto [airplane] turbine blades and other parts of the engine, causing damage and even engine stalls. It also presents hazards to pilot visibility, causing pits and frosting on the windshields in the same way that a sandstorm damages an automobile windshield."
Scientists recently captured a rare video of an oarfish, but what's the real significance of the underwater footage?
Skywatchers can witness the biggest supermoon of 2013 and several other lunar events this week.
Police are still looking for environmentalist Jairo Mora Sandoval's murderers, while the episode has more Costa Ricans talking about the links between poaching and drug trafficking.
Celebrating 125 Years
Connect With Nat Geo
Special Ad Section
Shop National Geographic
Great Energy Challenge Blog
- Study Says: Hey, You, Get Onto the Cloud (It Saves Energy)
- Who Will Swelter This Summer? The Pressures on the Nation’s Power Grid
- Tar Sands Tour: Boomtown, Scarecrows, and Spin; “We Have Met the Enemy, and He is Us”
- Climate Change: China, U.S. Bring Toy Fire Truck to Seven-Alarm Fire
- Student Infographic Contest Paints Bright Picture of Youth Concern on Energy and Climate