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.

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

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

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.

Eruptive History


There is data available for 25 Holocene eruptive periods.


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

Deformation History


There is data available for 6 deformation periods. Expand each entry for additional details.


Deformation during 1999 - 2010 [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 1999 Stop Date: 2010 Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Remarks: Long-term subsidence is associated with the Ohaaki geothermal field.

Time series of line-of-sight displacement at Ohaaki geothermal field from ALOS PALSAR ascending path 325 starting from 20070113 (date in YYYYMMDD format). Coordinates of TL and BR corners are (?38.48N, 176.25E) and (?38.58N, 176.40E). Red star shows region of fastest subsidence.

From: Samsonov et al. 2011.


Reference List: Hole et al. 2007; Samsonov et al. 2011.

Full References:

Hole, J. K., C. J. Bromley, N. F. Stevens, and G. Wadge, 2007. Subsidence in the geothermal fields of the Taupo volcanic zone, New Zealand from 1996 to 2005 measured by InSAR. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 166, 125-146, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.07.013.

Samsonov S, Beavan J, Gonzalez P J, Tiampo K, Fernandez J, 2011. Ground deformation in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand, observed by ALOS PALSAR interferometry. Geophysical Journal International, 187(1), 147-160.

Deformation during 1996 - 2010 [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 1996 Stop Date: 2010 Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Remarks: Long-term subsidence is associated with the Wairakei-Tauhara geothermal field.

Time series of line-of-sight displacement at Tauhara-Wairakei geothermal system from ALOS PALSAR ascending path 325 starting from 20070113 (date in YYYYMMDD format). Coordinates of TL and BR corners are (?38.58N, 176.00E) and (?38.72N, 176.17E). Red star shows region of fastest subsidence.

From: Samsonov et al. 2011.


Reference List: Hole et al. 2007; Samsonov et al. 2011.

Full References:

Hole, J. K., C. J. Bromley, N. F. Stevens, and G. Wadge, 2007. Subsidence in the geothermal fields of the Taupo volcanic zone, New Zealand from 1996 to 2005 measured by InSAR. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 166, 125-146, doi:10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.07.013.

Samsonov S, Beavan J, Gonzalez P J, Tiampo K, Fernandez J, 2011. Ground deformation in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand, observed by ALOS PALSAR interferometry. Geophysical Journal International, 187(1), 147-160.

Deformation during 1996 - 1999 [Uplift; Observed by Leveling]

Start Date: 1996 Stop Date: 1999 Direction: Uplift Method: Leveling
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Reference List: Otway et al. 2002.

Full References:

Otway, P. M., Blick, G. H., & Scott, B. J., 2002. Vertical deformation at Lake Taupo, New Zealand, from lake levelling surveys, 1979-99. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45(1), 121-132.

Deformation during 1984 - 1996 [Subsidence; Observed by Leveling]

Start Date: 1984 Stop Date: 1996 Direction: Subsidence Method: Leveling
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Reference List: Otway et al. 2002.

Full References:

Otway, P. M., Blick, G. H., & Scott, B. J., 2002. Vertical deformation at Lake Taupo, New Zealand, from lake levelling surveys, 1979-99. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45(1), 121-132.

Deformation during 1983 - 1984 [Uplift; Observed by Leveling]

Start Date: 1983 Stop Date: 1984 Direction: Uplift Method: Leveling
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Remarks: Deformation at Lake Taupo is observed from 1983 to 1984 and is related to an earthquake swarm that began on 17 June 1983.


Reference List: Otway et al. 2002.

Full References:

Otway, P. M., Blick, G. H., & Scott, B. J., 2002. Vertical deformation at Lake Taupo, New Zealand, from lake levelling surveys, 1979-99. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45(1), 121-132.

Deformation during 1979 - 1982 [Variable (uplift / subsidence); Observed by Leveling]

Start Date: 1979 Stop Date: 1982 Direction: Variable (uplift / subsidence) Method: Leveling
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Reference List: Otway et al. 2002.

Full References:

Otway, P. M., Blick, G. H., & Scott, B. J., 2002. Vertical deformation at Lake Taupo, New Zealand, from lake levelling surveys, 1979-99. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45(1), 121-132.

Emission History


There is no Emissions History data available for Taupo.

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, and may be availble for research (contact the Rock and Ore Collections Manager). Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description Lava Source Collection Date
NMNH 116210-10 Pumice -- --
NMNH 116210-11 Pumice -- --
NMNH 116210-12 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-23 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-24 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-25 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-28 Welded Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-29 Welded Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-30 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-32 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-33 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-34 Basalt -- --
NMNH 116210-35 Rhyolite -- --
NMNH 116210-37 Ignimbrite LAKE TAUPO --
NMNH 116210-38 Ignimbrite LAKE TAUPO --
NMNH 116210-4 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-5 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-6 Airfall Pumice -- --
NMNH 116210-7 Pumice -- --
NMNH 116210-8 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-9 Volcanic Ash -- --
NMNH 116566-12 Volcanic Rock TAUHARA --
NMNH 116691-5 Pyroclastic Rock -- 1 Feb 1986
NMNH 116691-9 Pyroclastic Rock -- --
NMNH 117454-55 Pumice -- --
NMNH 117454-56 Obsidian -- --
NMNH 117454-57 Obsidian Taupo breccia --
NMNH 117551-15 Obsidian Tauhara 'dacite' flow; Tauhara --

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