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Published: 2005-04-21 00:00:00

Environment Waikato is not concerned about a plume of volcanic dust sent into the Waikato River from yesterday’s geothermal eruption near Reporoa.

The eruption, described as one of the largest in the North Island for 50 years, happened late Tuesday morning on the remote Department of Conservation Ngatamariki Hot Springs Reserve between Rotorua and Taupo. It sent a plume of steam up from a pine plantation, creating a large crater, uprooting mature pine trees and spreading white dust for some distance.

Stones had been hurled into nearby pastures, spooking cattle and the area was coated with a thick layer of grey mud and ash.

A plume of dust went into the nearby Orakanui Stream which is a tributary of the Waikato River, but Environment Waikato is not concerned that it would cause any problems for downstream water users. The plume is settling out quickly and is likely to have disappeared by the time it enters Lake Ohakuri.

The area had a similar sized eruption in 1948.