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Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand) — February 1993

Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, vol. 18, no. 2 (February 1993)
Managing Editor: Edward Venzke.

Ruapehu (New Zealand) Little change in crater lake; episodes of tremor

Please cite this report as:

Global Volcanism Program, 1993. Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand) (Venzke, E., ed.). Bulletin of the Global Volcanism Network, 18:2. Smithsonian Institution. https://doi.org/10.5479/si.GVP.BGVN199302-241100.

Volcano Profile |  Complete Bulletin


New Zealand

39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m

All times are local (unless otherwise noted)

Fieldwork on 17 February revealed little change compared to previous visits. The lake was pale gray-green with a large area of brownish discoloration over the N vent area, where several convection cells were apparent. Blue-green meltwater around the N and W margins increased in area during the day. There was no shoreline evidence of recent surging. Following a decline in January, the lake temperature had increased from 21°C (measured on 12 January) to 24°C. Over the same period the lake outflow decreased from 100 l/s to 90 l/s. The Mg/Cl ratio in the lake water has remained essentially constant since December (table 3), after reaching a low of 0.042 in September.

Table 3. Temperature, outflow measurements, and water analyses from the crater lake of Ruapehu, 21 December 1992 to 10 December 1993. Discharge is in liters/second (l/s). Discharge of "0" indicates a lake level below overflow stage. A dash (--) signifies no measurement. (The low Mg and Cl values on 11 January were due to excessive meltwater dilution. Analyses done by M.E. Crump). Courtesy of IGNS.

Date Outlet (°C) Logger Point (°C) Discharge (l/s) Mg (ppm) Cl (ppm) Mg/Cl
21 Dec 1992 -- -- -- 311 6731 0.046
11 Jan 1993 -- -- -- 273 5947 0.046
17 Feb 1993 -- -- -- 299 6674 0.045
03 Jun 1993 14.0 16.5 less than 1 282 6403 0.044
18 Jun 1993 10.9 13.0 30 273 6194 0.044
03 Jul 1993 11.2 12.5 -- 277 6267 0.044
06 Aug 1993 19.6 -- 85 277 6404 0.043
21 Sep 1993 35.5 -- 25 283 6753 0.042
29 Sep 1993 38.2 -- 0 282 6883 0.041
09 Oct 1993 35.5 -- 0 294 7016 0.042
04 Nov 1993 37.2 39.0 0 296 7233 0.041
10 Dec 1993 26.0 -- 0 293 7175 0.041

EDM measurements revealed no long-term movements of volcanic significance. A key benchmark, buried by snow since July, was exhumed. Its burial prevented detection of any short-term inflationary changes.

The crater was revisited 28 February-2 March to install telemetry equipment. The lake initially appeared unchanged from 17 February, but by 2 March it was a uniform gray. Outflow was estimated to be 140 l/s. Lake temperatures of 28-29°C measured near the telemetry equipment were similar to the 29.2°C telemetered via ARGOS on 4 March.

Seismicity was generally low with some volcanic earthquakes recorded. Strong tremor was recorded 9-10 January and moderate tremor on 25-28 February.

Geologic Background. Ruapehu, one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, is a complex stratovolcano constructed during at least four cone-building episodes dating back to about 200,000 years ago. The dominantly andesitic 110 km3 volcanic massif is elongated in a NNE-SSW direction and surrounded by another 100 km3 ring plain of volcaniclastic debris, including the Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit on the NW flank. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. A single historically active vent, Crater Lake (Te Wai a-moe), is located in the broad summit region, but at least five other vents on the summit and flank have been active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have occurred in historical time from the Crater Lake vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as early as 3,000 years ago. Lahars produced by phreatic eruptions from the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and to lower river valleys.

Information Contacts: P. Otway, IGNS Wairakei.