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Thursday, 22 November 2012

Mordor volcano erupts in New Zealand

The volcano made famous in Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings trilogy as the evil wasteland of Mordor erupted on Wednesday on New Zealand’s North Island. No one was injured, but scientists are awaiting further volcanic activity in the area.

Mount Tongariro, along with two other volcanoes, is located in the center of the North Island and was asleep for over a century. However, in August of this year the volcano awoke – throwing huge boulders out into a radius of two kilometers, scientists say. The new eruption came by surprise.

"It was completely unexpected, there were no warning signs beforehand," a spokeswoman for GNS Science, the country's official monitoring service, told AFP. "We were watching [neighboring volcano] Ruapehu waiting for an eruption and instead this came out of nowhere."

On Wednesday around 00:25 GMT, the volcano awoke and started launching massive amounts of ash to the air. Scientists say an ash cloud rose almost three kilometers above the North Island.

"This was basically just ash being expelled into the atmosphere, but we don't know what could happen next," the GNS spokeswoman said.

A handout photo taken and received on November 21, 2012 from GNS SCIENCE-GEONET shows the eruption of Te Maari Crater on Mount Tongariro situated in the central area of New Zealand's North Island (AFP Photo / GNS Science)

Local authorities immediately closed roads and put aviation authorities on high alert.

The site is a national park, and was used as the backdrop to depict Mordor in The Lord of the Rings movies. The area is popular with tourists, hikers and skiers, attracting some 800,000 visitors every year.

The volcanoes are situated around 80 kilometers from the nearest population center, and as such do not threaten residents directly. However, deadly accidents have happened there in the past.

In 1953, an eruption at Mount Ruapehu, which neighbors Mount Tongariro, claimed 151 lives after a mudslide drove a passenger train off its tracks, sending it into the Whangaehu River.

(AFP Photo / GNS Science)

News Source: http://rt.com/art-and-culture/news/mordor-volcano-eruption-zealand-266/


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