23 Feb 11 - When I first opened this email I laughed. How ridiculous.
But then I learned that Banks Peninsula, just south of Christchurch,
consists of two overlapping extinct volcanoes, the Lyttelton Volcano and
the Akaroa Volcano.
Banks Peninsula, New Zealand, showing
Credit: Neil Love
According to NASA, Banks Peninsula, named for explorer Captain Cook’s
botanist, consists of two overlapping extinct volcanoes, the
Lyttelton Volcano and the Akaroa Volcano. Since the last eruptive
activity some six million years ago, the volcanoes have been heavily
eroded, dropping them from a peak of 1,500 meters down to around 500
Breaches in the crater walls have produced two long harbors: Lyttelton
Harbour to the north and Akaroa Harbour to the south.
Reader Neil Love added red dots to an aerial view of the Banks Peninsula (above)
to show the location of these "extinct" volcanoes.
Here's what Neil had to say:
I am worried that the situation in Christchurch is going to be even more
destructive than it is already. I see it as being a large volcanic
eruption coming on. Perhaps these two picture can give viewers a better
comprehension of what is developing. In my opinion the NZ government
should completely evacuate Christchurch and just leave it empty. I say
this because when the volcano "Mount Cook" explodes it is going to kill
everyone and flatten everything within a 100 kilometer range of it.
Neil Love, British Isles
Response from New Zealand resident
Mount Cook isn't a volcano. It never has been a volcano, isn't in
an active volcanic region and doesn't contain volcanic rock/basalt
in his make-up, I believe mainly greywacke, sandstone and mudstone.
Banks peninsula comprises 15 volcanic vents/cones - not 3. These have
not been active for 6 million years and the subduction zone and 'hot
spot' that made their creation possible has long since moved away - much
like the Hawaiian chain islands of extinct volcanoes.
GNS scientists here in NZ have tested the hot springs around Banks
Peninsula post-quakes. The chemical composition of that water is not
that which would indicate volcanic activity/source. The massive amount
of liquefaction and earthquakes that Christchurch has experienced has
caused changes in water table and natural spring levels but again
nothing indicating volcanic activity or presence of magma.
Now, I don't think one or two earthquakes signify an upcoming eruption. Normally
you'd see earthquake swarms leading up to such an event.
However, I heard on the radio last night that more than 1,000 aftershocks have
struck Christchurch just since the large earthquake in September, which puts a
new slant on it.
Update. Almost 5,000 earthquakes
(so-called aftershocks) have struck the Christchurch area since
September - 193 in the past seven days alone.
See this most amazing animated map. It shows every single one of
those quakes, one by one by one
Thanks to Cam McNaughton for this info and link
"No one seems to mention the volcanic nature
of the area near Christchurch," says
But let me be clear. I am not suggesting that the area be evacuated. I don't
begin to have the expertise to say that.
needs a volcano? I'd be petrified to live there just because of the earthquakes
Engineer concurs - Christchurch could be headed for volcanic eruption
Another photo from Neil Love showing what he perceives
to be an even larger extinct volcano.
New Zealand supervolcano?
Credit: Neil Love
Amazing animated map
of Christchurch area
Shows every quake since Sept 4, one by one by one.
(Wait a few
seconds after it loads and you'll see
what I mean.) http://www.christchurchquakemap.co.nz/
Thanks to Cam McNaughton for this link