Vol­cano of mud spouts over farm pad­docks

Marlborough Express - - FRONT PAGE -

was un­known.

It was thought that it may have been re­lated to move­ment on the bound­ary be­tween the Aus­tralian and Pa­cific tec­tonic plates.

‘‘The ori­gins of these things are a wee bit enig­matic, which is why we and GNS Sci­ence have a pro­ject look­ing into these things.

‘‘We’ll be set­ting up a longterm mon­i­tor­ing pro­gramme to study it ... we have sim­i­lar fea­tures within the city lim­its and they are a po­ten­tial haz­ard when you have houses nearby,’’ he said.

This lat­est erup­tion was in a re­mote area, about 150 me­tres from the near­est house.

Cave said GNS had sen­sors in the area prior to the erup­tion and it was hoped that these might shed some light on what led to the erup­tion.

‘‘There’s ob­vi­ously been some­thing brew­ing here for a while since the Te Araroa event and it’s just gone boom,’’ he said.

‘‘We’re also tak­ing rock sam­ples from it to see what mix of ma­te­ri­als is in­volved so we can get an idea of how far down these things come from.’’

There was a hard crust cov­er­ing some of the mud, but most of it was ex­tremely soft. The erup­tions are as­so­ci­ated with hy­dro­car­bon gases and these were present in this erup­tion.

There was an­other mud vol­cano in the area that erupted ev­ery 10-15 years, but this was the first in this area in known records. The erup­tion is on pri­vate land but can be seen from the Waimata Val­ley Rd.

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