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N.Z. volcano may erupt in next 50 years

  |   Aug. 5, 2006 at 5:25 PM
PALMERSTON NORTH, New Zealand, Aug. 5 (UPI) -- New Zealand's Mount Egmont-Taranaki is likely to erupt in the next 50 years, said Massey University researchers at a symposium.

An eruption of Mount Egmont would cause substantial damage to North Island, including the electricity network of lines company Powerco, and New Zealand's access to other energy such as natural gas, the Dominion Post said.

The Institute of Natural Resources explained that Mount Egmont has erupted at least once every 90 years -- on average -- for the past 9,000 years, although eruptions have not occurred at regular intervals, with a major eruption every 500 years.

Mark Bebbington from Massey University said a core ground sample from Mount Egmont indicated that significant seismic activity was likely again. It would be just the start of a prolonged period of activity, he told geologists, earth scientists and natural hazard planners, the Dominion Post reported.

The last major eruption is thought to have been in 1655 with smaller eruptions -- similar to that of Mount Ruapehu in 1995-96 -- recorded in 1755 and possibly the early 1800s.

At 8,261 feet, Mount Egmont is the nation's second-highest volcano.

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