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Christchurch eruption “just not possible”

Experts determined to "quash the gossip

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Lyttelton Harbour - unknown

9 Jul 11 - "Ancient Banks Peninsula volcanoes are not going to erupt," says this article on Signs of the Times (SOTT).

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."

See entire article:
Thanks to Stephanie Relfe for this link

"Phew!  I’m glad that’s settled," says Stephanie. "But what about all these quakes increasing in Christchurch?" 

I'm still not convinced.

They say that the “extinct” volcano in Littleton Harbor can’t blow. But is there really such a thing as an "extinct" volcano?

And why would the magma need to move horizontally? Why couldn't more magma be pumped into the system from below? It could come straight up from the mantle, a distance of "only" 60 miles (100 km). That's most likely where it came from before.

As far as being "not possible," Christchurch has experienced more than 7,900 earthquakes since last September. In September, the experts would have told you that that was not possible either.

Besides, who needs a volcano? I'd be petrified to live in Christchurch just because of the earthquakes alone.

- Robert

Comments 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.  

- Mandie Emberton 

See also:

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.)
Thanks to Cam McNaughton for this link

Site concept and development of this fantastic map: Paul Nicholls Paul Nicholls of the University of Canterbury's Digital Media Group (Christchurch, New Zealand)



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