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Christchurch eruption “just not possible”
Experts determined to "quash the gossip"
Unnamed officials have been quoted as saying that the continuing earthquake activity near Christchurch indicates an upcoming volcanic eruption, and that the information has been "hushed up".
Others say volcanic activity has heated the water in Lyttelton Harbour, and in some areas the water is already too hot to touch.
Some of New Zealand's top earthquake and volcano experts are now determined to quash the gossip before it scares even more people.
Natural Hazards Research Platform manager Kelvin Berryman, of GNS Science, said a Banks Peninsula eruption is "just not possible".
"There's no truth to this," said Berryman. "There's no reason for it. We have said time and time again this is not possible."
GNS Science volcanologist Nico Fournier said the six million-year-old Banks Peninsula volcanic complex was extinct, meaning that the earthquakes could not reactivate the volcanic area because there was no hot magma there.
"This is supported by all the data recorded by scientists since the main Darfield earthquake in September 2010," said Fournier.
"All the recorded signals - eg, ground-surface deformation from ground-based and satellite techniques, earthquake types - have been strictly tectonic in origin and due to movement along faults, and in no way related to volcanic activity."
The experts insist that there is no magma below Banks Peninsula. The closest magmas are approximately 300 miles (500 km) away in the Taranaki-Ruapehu-Taupo magmatic system, and "magma cannot travel horizontally such distances."
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