a magnitude 5.8 earthquake which hit the North Island on Wednesday night.

The quake took place at 11.49pm, and was centred about 25km east of Stratford at a depth of 187km.

Reports of the quake flooded GeoNet immediately after it hit, with tens of thousands of people reporting feeling it within 15 minutes.

The quake has been classified as light, and the vast majority of GeoNet reports reflect that, categorising it as light or weak due t its depth.

A recent cluster of earthquakes has occurred beneath Ruapehu’s summit. All monitoring data at Ruapehu indicates that volcanic unrest remains at minor levels. The Volcanic Alert Level at Mt Ruapehu stays at Level 1. A recent cluster of earthquakes has occurred beneath Ruapehu’s summit. All monitoring data at Ruapehu indicates that volcanic unrest remains at minor levels. The Volcanic Alert Level at Mt Ruapehu stays at Level 1. There has been no observable response from other continuous monitoring data such as Crater Lake (Te Wai ā-moe) temperature, lake level, or volcanic tremor. Therefore, our current assessment is that a relatively deep stress release has occurred below the volcano, but this has not affected the volcano’s hydrothermal system.

In contrast White Island is level 2 the aviation threat marked as yellow since mid December. Data from an observation flight at Whakaari/White Island in December showed a significant increase of the active vent temperature to just over 500°C. The state of moderate to heightened unrest continues.

The maximum temperature measured in the active vent area was 516°C. During September-November 2021 temperatures ranged from 202°C to 264°C. Temperatures over 500°C were last observed in July-August 2021. These observations are consistent with hot gas continuing to be released from the molten rock (magma) beneath the volcano.

The Department of Conservation (DoC) were informed on December 21st of 49 whales in Parengarenga Harbour on the east coast south of Cape Reinga. Fourteen had already died. In the same time frame a spate of stranding was also recorded in the UK and Scotland.

Meanwhile the Pacific volcanic ring of fire appears to be active demonstrating some unusual activity. A swarm of earthquakes was recorded Tuesday (12/1/2021) off Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, including the largest with a magnitude of 6.8 followed by aftershocks. There were few reports of the underwater quakes in the North Pacific being felt in nearby communities in a sparsely populated region of Alaska and no reports of damage, officials said.Natalia Ruppert, a seismologist at the Alaska Earthquake Center, said it was a “very unusual, very energetic swarm of earthquakes.” The largest quake, at magnitude 6.8, was preceded just minutes before by a couple of foreshocks. The strong quake occurred about 2:36 a.m., about 40 miles (64 kilometers) southeast of Nikolski, a community of 39 residents on Alaska’s Unmak Island. The community is about 900 miles (1,448 kilometers) southwest of Anchorage, the state’s largest city. About an hour later, a magnitude 6.6 aftershock was reported in the same area, followed throughout the morning by about a dozen aftershocks with many magnitude 4.0 or higher.

Northern Aurora activity at this time triggered by a solar eclipse was spectacular with scientists detecting direct interacting between the North pole aurora activity and the South Pole which ha being experiencing a heat wave over King George Islands.

The eclipse affected auroras in both the Northern and Southern hemispheres, according to the new study, published in the AGU journal Geophysical Research Letters, which publishes high-impact, short-format reports with immediate implications spanning all Earth and space sciences.

Auroras are the shimmering light shows in the sky that flare up when solar storms shoot out energy and particles that interact with gases in the atmosphere. Some of those particles travel along the lines of Earth’s magnetic field to the poles, creating the northern lights in the Northern Hemisphere and the southern lights in the South. Scientist found the aurora and upper atmosphere were disturbed in the Southern Hemisphere where the eclipse did not cover. This is because the upper atmosphere in the two hemispheres is connected through the magnetic field lines and the magnetosphere. The magnetic field is currently very charged as the sun goes through a phase of solar activity.

The new research represents the first time scientists have shown how an eclipse affects the coupling between the ionosphere—the regions where energy from the sun ionizes the atmosphere and where auroras occur—and the magnetosphere, the bubble around Earth created by Earth’s magnetic field. The research was being conducted conducted to improve science understanding of the geospace environment between earth and space and media spokesman stated it could help researchers predict the effects from future eclipses and Lithosphere—atmosphere—ionosphere coupling where atmospheric sources such as space weather, nuclear or volcanic explosions, can trigger seismic waves in the solid Earth.

APSS-1 was created with better quake predictions in mind.
“It was designed to measure electrical activity in the upper reaches of Earth’s atmosphere right at the edge of space, a region known as the ionosphere. Because the ionosphere is ionised by solar and cosmic radiation and is affected by phenomena such as solar winds, it is uniquely reactive to changing magnetic and electrical conditions. That means it affects radio and GPS signals here on Earth, including television, internet and telephone communications”.

SEE ALSO Tsunami alert occurs after ‘Quake’ detecting technology launched in June was lost following failed launch

This new study also illustrates the sizable impact of the solar eclipse on the ionosphere, which can absorb, bend and reflect the radio signals used by Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites, potentially creating disturbances in communication and navigation. Potentially it may also impact which satellites like DEMETER Auckland University’s Rocket lab linked Quaketek and GPS TEC observations are currently studying. In the days before White Island explosion in 2019 nearly 900,000 lightening strikes hit the Coromandel region covering Auckland to Hawkesbay. In comparison the most prominent lightening prone area Westland in the South Island on average receives just under 10,000 strikes for the whole year.

Satellite imagery shows the island of Hunga Tonga Hunga Ha’apai has continued to grow in size while the underwater volcano continues to erupt and has being doing so since Christmas day.

The interconnectivity of the Ring of Fire is beautifully illustrate in Maori myths of Tongariro the traditionally the belly of the fish that Maui caught. Sir George Grey records that Ngatoroirangi, the archpriest of Arawa canoe, saw the summit of Tongariro and commenced to climb to it. Before he left his followers, he bade them to fast until his return. When he was nearly at the top, his followers disobeyed him and Ngatoroirangi all but perished. Almost at his last gasp, he prayed to his gods in Hawaiki to send fire and produce a volcano in the mountain. His prayers were heard, and the gods sent fire which came to him by way of Whakaari (White Island), Moutohora, Okakaru, the Rotorua thermal district, Tarawera, Paeroa, Orakeikorako, and Taupo. It travelled underground, spouting up at these places, and finally ascended to the top of Tongariro to revive him.

The myth of Ngatoroirangi as captured in Lake Taupo Mairi rock art
speaks of the interconnectivity of nature and the ring of fire

The Tuwharetoa tribe has a variant of this legend, which explains the birth of the volcanoes and the naming of Tongariro and Ngauruhoe. According to this version, Ngatoroirangi had visited the Taupo – National Park district in order to lay claim to the territory. Near Rangipo he met Hapekituarangi who, he discovered, was on a similar errand. In order to forestall his rival, Ngatoroirangi decided to climb Tongariro and thus lay claim to whatever lands he could view from the summit. After rendering the mountain tapu to his rival, he began his climb. When he reached the summit he was chilled almost to death by the strong south wind. Weakened by the cold and the strenuous climb, he summoned the power of fire from his ancestral spirits and to his powerful sisters, Kuiwai and Haungaroa, who were in Hawaiki. 


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