New Zealand: Dam burst causes mud avalanche

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March 19, 2007 01:17

 
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A potentially lethal mix of mud, acidic water and rocks tore down the slope of New Zealand's Mount Ruapehu on Sunday, emergency officials said, but there was no immediate threat to life. The mud flow - also known as a lahar - broke through a rubble wall atop the mountain's crater lake about 10:47 a.m. Sunday morning, triggering an early warning alarm, Horizon Regional Council said. Police and civil defense workers immediately closed roads and the main trunk rail track near the southern base of the mountain on New Zealand's North Island. The island's main north-south highway, some 50 kilometers from the mountain's base, also was closed and two passenger trains with 200 people on board were halted some distance from the mountain.

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