Now scientists are predicting that further eruptions, from both Mt Tongariro and Mt Ruapehu, will happen within a week.

The eruption at Tongariro’s Te Maari was three or four kilometres high and lasted for about five minutes. The volcano had lain dormant for more than a century, until it erupted in August this year.

Historical evidence shows that there may be more eruptions to come, reports

“Progressive pressure may build up over time and we think that’s what’s happening,” said vulcanologist Nico Fournier.

“At the moment we can’t make any judgement calls but the overall opinion is if there is an eruption it is unlikely to be quite big … the bigger the eruption the more signals you should get beforehand and we haven’t seen that.”

Signals include earthquakes, gases emitted and the ground swelling slightly but Fournier said: “We haven’t had any evidence of any of those at the moment.”

She added that a series of eruptions in the late 1800s indicated that more eruptions were to follow and that research based on volcanic events around the world showed that eruptions usually came in a series.

“When you get an eruption it can stop, but most of the time there’s further eruptions over months or years.”

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