Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand) — 22 September-28 September 2021
Smithsonian / US Geological Survey Weekly Volcanic Activity Report,
22 September-28 September 2021
Managing Editor: Sally Kuhn Sennert
Please cite this report as:
Global Volcanism Program, 2021. Report on Ruapehu (New Zealand). In: Sennert, S K (ed.), Weekly Volcanic Activity Report, 22 September-28 September 2021. 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 a heating cycle at Ruapehu’s summit Crater Lake had ended. During the previous two months the temperature of the water increased from 20 degrees Celsius to a peak of 39.5 degrees on 4 September, and then decreased to 28 degrees. During the cycle the color of the lake changed from a blue-green color to a darker gray, reflecting the disturbed lake floor sediments suspended in the water from the influx of hot fluids. The key monitoring parameters of water level and temperature, seismic activity, and tremor levels, were all within normal ranges. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 (minor volcanic unrest) and the Aviation Color Code remained at Green.
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.