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Molten rock on the move in NZ volcano

New Zealand
Vulcanologists say molten rock appears to be moving higher inside Mt Ruapehu. They say elevated gas output, high lake temperatures and tremors continue to indicate unrest at Ruapehu, but say it is not clear whether an eruption is imminent. Eruptions in 1995 and 1996 wrecked the ski seasons in those years and were economically disastrous for the area.

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A towering cloud of hot ash, gas and molten rock spewed miles into the air by the volcano in southern Chile has partially collapsed, raising fears it could smother surrounding villages, an expert said on Tuesday. The column of ash, which had soared as high as 20 miles (30 km), was now about 4.5 miles (7 km). The column of debris, kept aloft by the pressure of constant eruptions, could collapse entirely, smothering the ghost town of Chaiten 6 miles (10 km) away with hot gas, ash and molten rocks. "These small collapses which generate minor flows of pyroclastic material are normal, they are not that serious in that they affect a small area, the top part of the volcano. But that doesn't make the worst case scenario disappear. As long as the eruptive column is high in the air, (a major collapse) is a possibility." Thick ash has caked rooftops, settled on the backs of animals and also formed a sediment in a river near Chaiten, which overran its banks briefly on Monday due to heavy rains and flooded about 40 houses on the outskirts of Chaiten town. Footage from the area showed a cluster of wooden houses at tilted angles in a river of gray ash.
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