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20-Apr-2016 16:06

Others have extremely short half-lives, measured in tenths or hundredths of a second.

Cannon-like, highly explosive eruptions in January and March 1974 threw out large quantities of ash as a column into the atmosphere, and as avalanches flowing down the cone’s sides.

It is not as well publicized as its larger close neighbour Mt Ruapehu, which has erupted briefly several times in the last five years.

However, Mt Ngauruhoe is an imposing, almost perfect cone that rises more than 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) above the surrounding landscape to an elevation of 2,291 m (7,500 feet) above sea level (Figure 3).

A mathematical formula can be used to calculate the half-life from the number of breakdowns per second in a sample of the isotope.

Some isotopes have very long half-lives, measured in billions or even trillions of years.The method compares the abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope within the material to the abundance of its decay products, which form at a known constant rate of decay.