photo by James Dignan (Wikimedia Commons)

On Monday Mount Tongariro on New Zealand’s North Island erupted for the first time in over 100 years, causing evacuations on Tuesday morning and disrupting flights.

The small scale eruption covered parts of central North Island in ash and shot rocks 1km from the site of the blast.

Scientists believe the eruption only lasted a few minutes and was driven by steam within the volcano. It was followed by small earthquakes.

GNS Science volcanologist Michael Rosenberg is quote by AAP:

There’ll be a few more minor quakes but for the moment it’s pretty quiet. At the moment there is just steam and gas coming through the vents where ash was coming from on Monday night.

Tongariro National Park, including its ski fields, remained open. There were no injuries caused by the eruption.

See this ITN video report for footage of the volcano and ash cover.