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Mount Tongariro Volcano Erupts in New Zealand: Eruption Spreads Ash on 'Lord of the Rings' Site

A volcano has erupted on New Zealand's North Island, spreading a layer of thick ash for several kilometres (miles) and causing some nearby residents to evacuate their homes. Scientists said they had noticed increased seismic activity below Mount Tongariro for weeks, but got no specific warning before the volcano blew late Monday night. The eruption of ash and rocks lasted about 30 minutes and didn't cause any injuries or damage in the sparsely populated central North Island region, which is a designated national park. The park is a popular tourist destination and formed the backdrop for many scenes in the "Lord of the Rings" movies. The eruption did prompt some nearby residents to evacuate their homes as a precautionary measure, and caused authorities to temporarily close roads.
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