Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand) — 10 April-16 April 2019
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 April-16 April 2019
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2019. Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 10 April-16 April 2019. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
GeoNet reported that, at least for the last 10 years of continuous lake-temperature monitoring, heating cycles at Ruapehu’s summit Crater Lake have occurred over periods of about 12 months with temperatures ranging from 15 to 45 degrees Celsius. However, the temperature remained elevated at 30 degrees for a period of six months starting in September 2018. GeoNet noted that during the previous two weeks the lake temperature increased further, at a rate of around a half of a degree per day, to 42 degrees on 9 April. Tremor levels also increased. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 (minor volcanic unrest) and the Aviation Color Code remained at Green.
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.