GNS: Tongariro 'smoke' is only steam

Mt Tongariro's Te Maari Crater at 8.15am this morning. Image / GNS
Mt Tongariro's Te Maari Crater at 8.15am this morning. Image / GNS

Plumes of "smoke" seen rising from Mt Tongariro today are not signs of increased volcanic activity, say GNS scientists.

Tourists and locals were stunned to see the white clouds billowing from the volcano, which erupted in November.

Black Sticks goalkeeper Bianca Russell witnessed the "ash cloud".

"It just grew and grew and grew in front of us and the locals say it's a big burp but it was pretty impressive watching it all," she told Newstalk ZB.

GNS duty vulcanologist Steven Sherburn said it was not smoke or ash rising from Mt Tongariro, but steam.

"It's nice, fine weather basically," he said.

Given the dank weather over the festive period, the mountain's peak has not been seen much.

And now the skies are clear, the steam is clearly visible, he said.

"People have been seeing it and interpreting it as being enhanced activity which I don't think it is," Mr Sherburn said.

"It doesn't reflect a change in the volcano, just a change in the weather.

"People should sit and enjoy it and go click with their camera."

- APNZ and Newstalk ZB

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