Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand) — 20 April-26 April 2011
Smithsonian Institution / US Geological Survey
Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 April-26 April 2011
Managing Editor: Sally Sennert.
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2011. Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand) (Sennert, S, ed.). Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 20 April-26 April 2011. Smithsonian Institution and US Geological Survey.
39.28°S, 175.57°E; summit elev. 2797 m
All times are local (unless otherwise noted)
On 18 April, GeoNet reported that the temperature of Ruapehu's summit Crater Lake was slowly cooling and decreased to 33-34 degrees Celsius from a peak of 41 degrees in March. A general decline of activity had been noted since 4 April, including lower carbon dioxide gas flux, less seismicity, modest change in the Crater Lake water chemistry, and cessation of lake overflow accompanying the start of the cooling trend. The Aviation Colour Code remained at Yellow and the Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 (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.