Third NZ volcano erupting – Massive growth rates

Russ Steele

Robert Felix has posted the report below on volcano activity in New Zealand at Ice Age Now. Why should we be paying attention?  The ice core demonstrate that cooling periods came on sharply and more and more scientist are beginning to credit volcanism for plunging the earth in to little ice ages.

“Is the super volcano Taupo awakening?” asks this headline on twawki.com.

The situation in NZ continues to alarm. A third volcano – Monowai, has erupted, emitting pumice that covers an area of ocean 50 km x 450km in size (10,000 sq. miles). It has one of the fastest growth rates for a volcano in recent history.

1800 years ago Taupo volcano in New Zealand had the largest volcanic eruption in the world for the last 5000 years. Taupo ejected over 30 cubic kilometers of material including a pyroclastic flow that moved at 600-900km/hr, traveling up mountains to a height of 1500m .

But even that massive eruption was dwarfed by the huge Taupo eruption just 26,500 years ago which plunged the earth into a volcanic winter & wiped out 60% of the population. From wikipedia;

The Oruanui eruption of the Taupo volcano was the world’s largest known eruption in the past 70,000 years, with a Volcanic Explosivity Index of 8. It generated approximately 430 km³ of pyroclastic fall deposits, 320 km³ ofpyroclastic density current (PDC) deposits and 420 km³ of primary intracaldera material, equivalent to 530 km³ of magma.

Modern Lake Taupo partly fills the caldera generated during this eruption.

This eruption was the largest volcanic eruption in the world in the last 70,000 years. When you consider the pyroclastic flows from this eruption were up to 100m deep (yes the height of a 30 story building), and extended up to 100km from the volcano then this is a volcanic area to keep a close eye upon. Especially as this volcano erupts every 2000 years and erupted around 1800 years ago.

The last 3 months has seen many small earthquakes around Taupo but there seems an increase in tectonic activity in recent years with a 6.5 quake just last year and another 5 quake last month. With volcanic eruptions Tongariro erupted unexpectedly this week with White Island erupting yesterday.

In 2006 Geologists warned Rotorua, Taupo and Whakatane are set to be wiped out in a massive overdue earthquake. An Alpine fault quake is a certainty where East Cape would rip away from New Zealand, destroying the plateau that Rotorua is based on and taking Taupo and Whakatane with it. It is only a matter of when.

The interval since the last event (in 1717) is longer than any interval between known earlier events.”

I found this additional information on Twawki.com interesting.

As Christchurch keeps getting hit with earthquakes & liquefaction is New Zealand waking up in accord with it’s cycles? There is also speculation that volcanic activity coincides with low sunspot activity – with solar cycle 24 flat-lining it will be interesting times ahead! 

This is an area that needs more study. Was there more vulcanism during low sunspots,  and what is the link?

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About Russ Steele

Freelance writer and climate change blogger. Russ spent twenty years in the Air Force as a navigator specializing in electronics warfare and digital systems. After his service he was employed for sixteen years as concept developer for TRW, an aerospace and automotive company, and then was CEO of a non-profit Internet provider for 18 months. Russ's articles have appeared in Comstock's Business, Capitol Journal, Trailer Life, Monitoring Times, and Idaho Magazine.
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