GNS scientists assessing Mt Tongariro today

Better weather around Mt Tongariro today has allowed GNS scientists to fly around the summit.

The mountain erupted late on Monday night, spilling ash and steam for much of yesterday.

No one was injured and there were no forced evacuations, but the crossing was closed to visitors.

Air New Zealand flights to a number of eastern area airports were either cancelled or delayed and state highway 46 and the Desert Rd were closed because of fallen ash.

The area’s four huts, the Tongariro crossing and the northern circuit remain closed today.

Cloudy weather yesterday morning and poor visibility meant scientists, who took a chartered flight to the area, could not see what they needed to.

But GNS duty volcanologist Craig Miller told NBR ONLINE scientists have been able to charter another flight today.

He says nobody will be landing in the area, but a fly-around will be crucial to working out exactly where the eruption came from.

“They’ll be looking to see where the vents area. Knowing exactly where the eruption came from is important in terms of assessing further activity.”

Mr Miller says there was no further activity overnight, which is encouraging.

Meanwhile, it is another quiet day from crossing guide Stewart Barclay of Adrift Guided Outdoor Adventures.

He says they will be closed until the experts deem it safe to return to the crossing.

And he wants to stress to tourists and visitors planning a trip that local operators are in constant contact with department of conservation and GNS staff.

“We will stay closed until the GNS experts discuss the situation with DOC and give the go-ahead.”

Taupo district council emergency manager Phil Parker says as far as the council is concerned everything is almost back to normal and he is waiting for further information from GNS scientists at the site today.

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