Friday, July 20, 2012

Out and about - Southland, and learning NZ Geography

Two of our team (Sam & Lara) are currently down in Southland fixing a few pieces of our equipment. So i got them to send me a few pics so we could follow their adventures.

The pic on the left is WHZ (Weather Hill Road) the site has had an impaired signal lately and they think the trees could be the culprit!

Leaving Manapouri for DCZ

 The next stop was via helicopter to the remote DCZ (Deep Cove) site, where the satellite modem was faulty and affecting the comms. So they swapped it out.

And some locals came to see what was going on ...

 Cheeky Kea

 And here is Sam working out the gear while they wait for the helicopter to take them to Wednesday peak. 

Another thing that earthquakes have done recently, is teach us  places in New Zealand that we haven't heard of before! The team were kind enough to stop and take a photo of the Tuatapere sign for me!

I first heard of the town Tuatapere back in 2009 after the Dusky Sound earthquake where the location came through as "100 km north-west of Tuatapere" and left a few of us wondering where on earth is that ( i remember texting Lara)!!  A few years down the track and a few more shakes off the South Island have made the town quite well known.

They drove through Nightcaps and Ohai to get there too.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Snow season - watch out for volcanoes!

Winter has come, the snow has fallen and people are heading up to Mt Ruapehu for some fun. Now while this is great, and so pretty (this pic is from our webcam this morning) its also important to remember underneath all of that white stuff is an active volcano!

Now I'm not wanting to put you off going up there - its just like all of the hazards in NZ - just do a little research and be prepared!

One of the major hazards on the mountain in an eruption is a lahar = a  "mudflow" - a mixture of 
volcanic ash, rocks and water.

The last eruption on Mt Ruapehu was in September 2007, during this eruption explosions spread ash, rocks and water across the summit area, producing lahars in two valleys including one in the Whakapapa ski field.  In March 2007 the dam at the crater lake failed and produced a really big lahar :

If a volcanic eruption does occur at on the mountain an audio siren and message will sound from a series of speakers located around the ski area, immediately move to higher ground and out of valleys. Stay in a safe zone until you receive further instructions from Ruapehu staff.

Mt Ruapehu, the Department of Conservation and GNS Science have all worked together to produce volcanic hazard maps of Ruapehu and Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas:

So check them out before you head up the mountain!

Mt Ruapehu 1996

GeoNet monitors Mt Ruapehu (along with other volcanoes in NZ) with 3 web cameras, 10 seismographs and 6 microphones to detect volcanic explosions, frequent water chemistry and airborne gas measurements, and 8 continuous GPS stations to detect ground deformation.

For more info on Mt Ruapehu click here and info on the other volcanoes we monitor here.  

Mt Ruapheu website