Taupo

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Volcanic Region
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  • 38.82°S
  • 176°E

  • 760 m
    2493 ft

  • 241070
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number

The Global Volcanism Program has no activity reports for Taupo.

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The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Taupo.

Eruptive History


Summary of Holocene eruption dates and Volcanic Explosivity Indices (VEI).


Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0260 (?) Unknown Confirmed 0 Tephrochronology East Lake Taupo (Horomatangi Reefs)
0233 Mar 15 ± 13 years ± 20 days Unknown Confirmed 6 Radiocarbon (corrected) Horomatangi Reefs area, Unit Y
0200 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) 4 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit X
0800 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Tephrochronology Ouaha Hills, Unit W
1010 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) 4 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit V
1050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) 5 km NE of Motutaiko Island, Unit U
1250 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) 4 km W of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit T
1460 BCE ± 40 years Unknown Confirmed 6 Radiocarbon (corrected) Horomatangi Reefs?, Unit S
2500 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) 3 km SW of Motutaiko Island, Unit R
2600 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) 3 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit Q
2800 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Tephrochronology Unit P
2850 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) 2 km S of Te Tuhi Point, Unit O
2900 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) 5 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit N
3070 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) 5 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit M
3120 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Tephrochronology 2 km W of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit L
3170 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) 4 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit K
3420 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) Unit J
4000 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) Unit I
4100 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) 4 km WNW of Kohaiakahu Point, Unit H
4700 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Radiocarbon (corrected) East-central Lake Taupo, Unit G
5100 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Radiocarbon (corrected) SE Lake Taupo (Motutaiko Island) (Unit F)
8130 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Radiocarbon (corrected) Central, E-central L. Taupo (Opepe), Unit E
9210 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Tephrochronology Acacia Bay lava dome, Unit D
9240 BCE ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Radiocarbon (corrected) 4 km W of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit C (Poronui)
9460 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Radiocarbon (corrected) East-central Lake Taupo (Karapiti), Unit B

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Photo Gallery


An aerial view shows the east margin of Lake Taupo with Taupo City on its shores. The 35-km-wide caldera is not topographically prominent but has been the source of powerful rhyolitic eruptions from the late Pleistocene throughout the Holocene. The 35,000-year-old Tauhara lava dome forms the prominent peak in the background.

Photo by Jim Healy (New Zealand Geological Survey).
See title for photo information.
Volcanologists Colin Wilson and Peter Bellance examine a roadcut that dissects deposits of major eruptions from the Taupo volcanic center. The unit at the level of the feet of the volcanologists is an exposure of an unwelded pyroclastic-flow deposit from the Oruanui eruption, which formed Taupo's initial caldera about 22,600 years ago. Light-colored airfall-pumice deposits from other major eruptions occur between it and the deposits of the 1800-year-old Taupo eruption (upper right), which were responsible for Taupo's second caldera.

Photo by Bruce Houghton (Wairakei Research Center).
See title for photo information.
This telephoto view looking SW across Lake Taupo, the southernmost major caldera of the Taupo volcanic zone, shows several major peaks anchoring the southern end of the Taupo volcanic zone. The broad forested peak below the center horizon is the Pleistocene Pihanga volcano. The steep-sided cone on the horizon to its right is Nguaruhoe, the youngest volcano of the Tongarior complex. The broad massif to its right is Tongariro. The snow-capped massif on the left-center horizon is Ruapehu.

Photo by Tom Simkin, 1986 (Smithsonian Institution).
See title for photo information.
Lake Taupo fills a topographically indistinct, roughly 35-km-wide caldera that is the site of the most prolific rhyolitic volcano of the Taupo volcanic zone. The caldera was formed during two major explosive eruptions, the Oruanui eruption, roughly 22,600 years ago, and the Taupo eruption, about 1800 years ago. The latter was one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions. Additional plinian eruptions during the Holocene have produced widespread airfall-pumice deposits.

Photo by Richard Waitt, 1986 (U.S. Geological Survey).
See title for photo information.
This thick outcrop exposes deposits of the 1800-years-old Taupo eruption, one of the world's largest during the past 10,000 years. The Taupo eruption produced nearly 100 cu km of phreatomagmatic surge deposits, plinian airfall-tephra deposits, and the overlying Taupo ignimbrite, seen at the upper half of this photo above the thin, light-colored layers. The eruption occurred from a vent at Horomatangi Reefs, now submerged beneath Lake Taupo.

Photo by Richard Waitt, 1986 (U.S. Geological Survey).
See title for photo information.

Smithsonian Sample Collections Database


The following 28 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections. Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description
NMNH 116210-10 Pumice
NMNH 116210-11 Pumice
NMNH 116210-12 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-23 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-24 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-25 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-28 Welded ignimbrite
NMNH 116210-29 Welded ignimbrite
NMNH 116210-30 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-32 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-33 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-34 Basalt
NMNH 116210-35 Rhyolite
NMNH 116210-37 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-38 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-4 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-5 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-6 Airfall pumice
NMNH 116210-7 Pumice
NMNH 116210-8 Poorly-sorted pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116210-9 Volcanic ash
NMNH 116566-12 Volcanic
NMNH 116691-5 Pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 116691-9 Pyroclastic-rock
NMNH 117454-55 Pumice
NMNH 117454-56 Obsidian
NMNH 117454-57 Obsidian
NMNH 117551-15 Obsidian

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