Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Busy Week for Mother Nature

Living in a country with active volcanoes and multiple fault lines sure does keep you on your toes! This week in New Zealand, nature has been restless to say the least. Within a period of 24 hours, there was a volcanic eruption and a massive landslide caused by an earthquake.
First the volcano. Mt. Ruapehu is in the centre of the North Island, and even though it is an active volcano, it is visited by thousands and thousands of people every year. It sees hikers all summer, and skiers all winter. So when it got heartburn on Tuesday night and decided to belch up some black ash (and large boulders) it was a cause for concern. Of course, it doesn't compare with the major eruptions in 1995 and 1996, which were spectacular to say the least.

Luckily, the effects weren't felt as far down as the ski fields. There were two people at a hut near the summit, however, who were showered with debris which crashed right through the front door. One of them was pinned under a boulder, and has since had one of his legs amputated. The other was not injured, and ran down the mountain in the dark to get help.

As for the earthquake, that has resulted in New Zealand's newest lake! In Mt. Aspiring National Park on the South Island, a small earthquake and heavy rains caused one of the biggest landslides seen in these parts. It cut off part of a river, turning it into an alpine lake. The slip is thought to be about 70 metres high, with some boulders as big as a house. Nobody was hurt, but there is a hiking track reasonably close to the slip that people are being warned to avoid until things have settled. The pictures is from

Just when you thought it was safe to go outside! New Zealand's precarious relationship between man and the land got a bit of a shake-up.

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