The fires of Mount Doom were once again in action today as the volcano that starred in Peter Jackson's Lord Of The Rings films erupted, spewing pieces of rock high into the sky. The eruption has made an impression not just because of Mount Tongariro's famous pedigree, but because it was thought to be extinct, having been dormant for over a century.
To add to the drama, today's eruption happened with no warning, with seismic detectors near the site giving no hint of what was about to happen. Locals described a spectacular explosion and what looked like fireworks going off. A large ash cloud from the volcano is preventing aircraft from entering the area and may cause damage to farmland. Fortunately nobody has been hurt and at this stage it is not expected to be necessary to evacuate nearby villages.
In the films, young hobbit Frodo must travel to Mount Doom because it is the only thing capable of destroying the eponymous ring. Today, New Zealanders are getting a taste of the real volcano's power.