No, I wasn’t there or have photos of last night’s Tongariro eruption, the first in over 100 years. This photo is the next best thing and was taken a few years ago showing the Tongariro volcanic system. The beautiful cone to the right is Mount Ngauruhoe (pronouced Nara-ho-ee) and it’s actually a relatively new vent of the main Tongariro volcano, which is the entire area on the left. Tongariro was once bigger than Mt Ruapehu (out of shot), which itself is bigger than Mt Ngauruhoe, but Tongariro blew up yonks ago leaving what we see today. Last night’s eruption at 11.50pm hurled rocks 1 km away and sent up an ash cloud that has disrupted local air traffic. Experts say they don’t know how long the volcanic activity will last; could be months, days, decades! A more violent eruption in the coming days or a drop off in all volcanic activity was also possible, it’s reported. White Island to the east in the Bay of Plenty, on the same volcanic fault line which runs west to Taupo, Tongariro and Mt Taranaki in New Plymouth, also blew the other day. Given the massive volcanic cauldron on which the central North Island sits, any activity is potentially disturbing. Taupo, a few miles east of here, was the largest eruption in the history of the earth, that we know of; something that made the Mount St Helens eruption look like a minor fart. Food for thought. The volcanic alert level for Mt Tongariro has risen from 1 to 2, while the aviation colour code has been raised to red.