Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand) — 17 November-23 November 2004
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
17 November-23 November 2004
Managing Editor: Gari Mayberry
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2004. Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand). In: Mayberry, G (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 17 November-23 November 2004. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
IGNS reported that a new heating cycle may be under way at Ruapehu volcano. The temperature of Crater Lake has increased three degrees to 18 degrees Celsius, and elevated levels of volcanic tremor have occurred over the last three weeks. Ruapehu remained at Volcanic Alert Level 1 (some signs of volcano unrest).
Geological Summary. 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 NW-flank Murimoto debris-avalanche deposit. A series of subplinian eruptions took place between about 22,600 and 10,000 years ago, but pyroclastic flows have been infrequent. The broad summait area and flank contain at least six vents active during the Holocene. Frequent mild-to-moderate explosive eruptions have been recorded from the Te Wai a-Moe (Crater Lake) vent, and tephra characteristics suggest that the crater lake may have formed as recently as 3,000 years ago. Lahars resulting from phreatic eruptions at the summit crater lake are a hazard to a ski area on the upper flanks and lower river valleys.