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Mt Tongariro Has Erupted,

November 21, 2012 by  

Mt Tongariro Has Erupted,, NEW Zealand’s Mount Tongariro volcano in the central North Island has erupted, sending a black plume of ash up to 2km into the air and forcing hundreds of hikers to be evacuated.

Hundreds of tourists – including 90 schoolchildren from Napier – were on the mountain when Tongariro erupted around 1.20pm local time.

Police are warning sightseers to stay away from the area in case of further volcanic activity.

The official GNS Science monitoring service issued a potential threat alert after the eruption at the volcano, which was the location for parts of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

The volcano became active in August this year after lying dormant for more than a century.

GNS Science says New Zealand’s Mt Tongariro volcano in the central North Island has erupted.

Civil Defence advised people living in or near the Waikato, Hawke’s Bay, Gisborne and Bay of Plenty areas to stay indoor.

Residents have complained that they are finding it hard to breathe due to the sulphur, according to New Zealand media reports.

Air New Zealand have cancelled flights between Wellington and Taupo due to the ash cloud.

GNS Science duty volcanologist Nico Fournier told APNZ the eruption, which lasted around five minutes, happened about 1.20pm.

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