Latest News

Monowai, 3rd volcano thought to have erupted


  • Ratings12345

20120810-164348.jpg

25,000 sq km sea of pumice floats off New Zealand

(By MICHAEL FIELD AND STACEY KIRK, Stuff.co.nz)

A navy ship heading to the Kermadec Islands has sailed into a huge 25,000 square kilometre area of pumice pieces north of Auckland.

It is believed to be from New Zealand’s third erupting volcano – the undersea mount Monowai. In the past week both Mt Tongariro and White Island have erupted.

The navy said the raft – 463 kilometres by 55 kilometres – was spotted by an RNZAF Orion returning on patrol from Samoa.

Canterbury, which left Auckland on Wednesday, sailed to the raft to pick up a sample.

GNS scientists are aboard the ship, which is also carrying 30 high school students on a Sir Peter Blake fellowship to Raoul Island.

GNS vulcanologist Craig Miller said they were aware of the ”pumice raft” but did not know the exact dimensions of it.

He said it was difficult to guess how big the pumice raft could be, but the air force had flown over and assessed its size.

“We’ve been in contact with the air force recently about it. But it is floating more than 1000 kilometres offshore, so it’s a while away.”

Miller said the pumice raft was about “half way to Tonga”, and just past Raoul Island.

A science writer on the voyage to the Kermadecs has been keeping a journal of findings from each day.

Rebecca Priestley said it was “an event” which caused the Canterbury’s Commanding Officer, Commander Sean Stewart to give the order to change course.

“Up to 250 nautical miles long by 30 nautical miles wide, it stood out against the blue-grey of the ocean as a great white froth on the surface of the sea,” Priestley wrote.

She said they came across it about midday yesterday.

Navy ratings reportedly lowered buckets, tied to a rope, off the gun deck and down into the water to collect deposits, which Marine Geologist Helen Bostock, who is also on the voyage, would take back to Niwa to examine, Priestly said.

About Monowai

Monowai is a volcanic seamount to the north of New Zealand. It is one of the most active volcanoes in the Kermadec volcanic arc.

The most recent eruptions were in 2008 and 2011.

The summit is approximately 132 metres (433 ft) below sea level, considerably above the level of the nearby Tonga and Kermadec Trenches. The summit’s position and depth changed between 1998 and 2004, due to a landslide and eruptive regrowth. A 1500 metre deep caldera, 13 by 8 km, lies 5–15 km NNE of the seamount’s main cone.

Latest Tweets

  • DigitalMaoriI scored 7 points in #BREAKFINITY !! -> https://t.co/Cknp73UsbD about 7 hours ago
  • DigitalMaori@BBCClick @Microsoft @Xbox @ExtremeTech clicked just as I sent my tweet. fascinating read. I'm buying both in a few weeks. can't wait2 play about 3 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@BBCClick @Microsoft @Xbox @ExtremeTech just saw on squakbox that PS4 has sold 7m units about 3 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@MorganGodfery @Waiariki_Cowboy bro all parties have the hat out. Some will get lots, others will still work on heart #mana about 3 days ago
  • DigitalMaoriAmazing lightning strikes all across #Rotorua night skies. Meanwhile boys still playing Minecraft... about 3 days ago
  • DigitalMaoriA cornerstone of backbeat Pacific & Celtic rhythms check out @PacificCurls for gig updates, festivals and beautiful Pacific & Celtic sounds. about 3 days ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @PacificCurls: Kia ora! Noa'ia! Warm Greetings! Just setting up our very first Twitter account! :) Love to all and stay warm, dry and sa… about 3 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@misstahi @HemiHorne yes please that would be awesome about 6 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@traceyrcooper @n8tvaffairs @publicaddress perhaps we all need to figure out how to better work 2gether? about 6 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@justjenine and now my 9yr son wants to teach me. So cool. about 6 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@traceyrcooper @n8tvaffairs @publicaddress I do. Tv3 got blocked, TvNZ got blocked. We walked out and didn't cover the last day #solidarity about 6 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@chrisclaynz kia ora Chris. Awesome brother. Plz email me potaua@gmail.com. Can't wait to hear more. about 6 days ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @misstahi: @misstahi: Amazing new exhibition in Wellington central - Johnson Witehira's Land of Tara #maori #taranaki http://t.co/VPmoum… about 6 days ago
  • DigitalMaoriRT @publicaddress: New post: A little journalistic solidarity with Native Affairs and http://t.co/byVKuxp0YB http://t.co/CjQa2g4izc @Digita… about 6 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@RichDecibels @Loomio kia ora Rich. Awesome! Will be in touch soon. Exciting. about 6 days ago
  • DigitalMaoriOccupyNZ interviews Hone Harawira at #Mana #AGM https://t.co/mUH6dQitim about 7 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@AnkyraDAnatolia @VignaMichela @mycrixus that's correct PUKANA!! http://t.co/rDnXCWacYH about 7 days ago
  • DigitalMaoriHOME!! Love that smell of the forest, the sulphur, the rain here in #Rotorua. Many many thanks @gnat for the invite to #kiwifoo. Kia ora! about 7 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@VignaMichela @mycrixus @AnkyraDAnatolia so I just said "powerful pukana cousin Manu!" in te reo #Maori about 7 days ago
  • DigitalMaori@VignaMichela @mycrixus @AnkyraDAnatolia kia ora. Manu/Crixus of the tribe Te Arawa in NZ is pulling a pukana, eyes big, tongue out #Maori about 7 days ago