Mt. Tongariro, New Zealand, erupted today, November 21, 2012 around 1:20 pm local time and lasted for five minutes. Reports say black plume of ash was sent several kilometers up in the sky. Hikers, including schoolchildren were evacuated. Residents in the Waikato, Hawke's Bay, Gisborne and Bay of Plenty areas are advised to stay indoor. Spot of eruption was Te Maari Crater on mountain's western side. GNS Science duty volcanologist Nico Fournier said,
"There was one eruption, essentially one explosion, and it was not sustained. It spewed some ash possibly a couple of kilometres up the air. The ash is now drifting to the east-southeast.''
As per Geonet, volcanic alert level has been raised to 2 and aviation alert code changed to Orange. Previous eruption was in August this year at upper Te Maari crater(s) on northern side of the volcano.
A brief of history of volcano by Global volcanism program:
Tongariro is a large andesitic volcanic massif, located immediately NE of Ruapehu volcano, that is composed of more than a dozen composite cones constructed over a period of 275,000 years. Vents along a NE-trending zone extending from Saddle Cone (below Ruapehu volcano) to Te Mari crater (including vents at the present-day location of Ngauruhoe) were active during a several hundred year long period around 10,000 years ago, producing the largest known eruptions at the Tongariro complex during the Holocene.
Sources: Heraldsun, GNS
Featured image: Global volcanism program. Photo by Don Swanson, 1984 (U.S. Geological Survey).