Mount Doom's Neighbor Erupts in New Zealand

Mount Tongariro may come back to life again, scientists warn.

A New Zealand volcano that neighbors a mountain best known as Mount Doom of the Lord of the Rings films has rumbled back to life.

Mount Tongariro, situated in a remote part of the country's North Island, erupted for five minutes on November 21, spewing clouds of ash 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) high. In August, the 6,490-foot (1,978-meter) Tongariro had erupted for the first time since 1897. (Video: Volcano 101.)

Though the recent activity seems to have ebbed, scientists have predicted another eruption of similar size will occur in the next few weeks, according to the New Zealand Herald.

Several flights were canceled on New Zealand's North Island. Previous eruptions—notably of Iceland's Eyjafjallajökull volcano in 2010—have crippled air travel on a global scale.

(Related: "Volcanic Ash Stops Europe Flights—Why Ash Is Dangerous [2010].")

"Very often volcanic ash contains microscopic fragments of volcanic glass ...  and the turbine engines of commercial aircraft produce a level of heat sufficient to melt glass," Steven Miller, of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere at Colorado State University, told NASA's Earth Observatory in August.

"The ash can melt onto [airplane] turbine blades and other parts of the engine, causing damage and even engine stalls. It also presents hazards to pilot visibility, causing pits and frosting on the windshields in the same way that a sandstorm damages an automobile windshield."

Read This Next

The most ancient galaxies in the universe are coming into view
‘Microclots’ could help solve the long COVID puzzle
How Spain’s lust for gold doomed the Inca Empire

Go Further

Subscriber Exclusive Content

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet

Why are people so dang obsessed with Mars?

How viruses shape our world

The era of greyhound racing in the U.S. is coming to an end

See how people have imagined life on Mars through history

See how NASA’s new Mars rover will explore the red planet