(Michelle Cook, Stuff.co.nz) Tests have revealed that magma is bubbling high inside Mount Tongariro, which could suggest a larger eruption is imminent.
A series of samples have been tested since the volcano’s Te Mari crater erupted on Monday night, but the latest results give the greatest insight.
The results detected sulphur dioxide and carbon dioxide in the steam plume, which indicated that magma was near the surface of the crater, GNS Science head of volcanology Gill Jolly told Radio New Zealand.
This could lead to a magmatic eruption, but it’s also likely that a series of steam eruptions could follow, Jolly said. Or perhaps, nothing at all.
The volcano was still ejecting steam and gas this morning, GNS vulcanologist Michael Rosenberg said.
Tremors continue to shake the earth below it, he said.
Meanwhile, a 4.7 magnitude earthquake in the Bay of Plenty this morning has had no impact on White Island, which erupted on Tuesday night.
It was the first eruption in 12 years for the country’s most active and largest cone.
White Island tended to have volcanic episodes which lasted a few months to a few years, so this could just be the start of more to come, Rosenberg said.
The Te Mari crater last erupted in 1897.
Difference between Lava and Magma
When it reaches the surface and comes out of a volcano, magma becomes lava. There are actually different kinds of lava depending on its thickness or viscosity. The thinnest lava can flow downhill for many kilometers, creating a gentle slope. The thicker lavas will just pile up around the volcanic vent and hardly flow at all. The thickest lava doesn’t even flow. It just plugs up the plumbing of a volcano, and can be the cause of violent explosions.
So the different between magma and lava is location. Magma is deep underground, in chambers beneath volcanoes, and lava is the stuff that comes out of volcanoes