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Okataina

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  •  
  • 38.12°S
  • 176.5°E

  • 1111 m
    3645 ft

  • 241050
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number
Most Recent Weekly Report: 15 June-21 June 2016 Citation IconCite this Report

GeoNet reported that the Mud Rift feature at Okataina's Waimangu Geothermal area erupted during 17-20 May, the first time since 1989. The Mud Rift geothermal vent formed in 1906 in the Raupo Pond Crater (one of multiple craters which formed in June 1886) and is 36 m long, 5-6 m wide, and 15 m deep. The steam-driven events mostly ejected fine sand and mud, and there was abundant evidence of fluids flooding into the rift, especially at the W end. Nearby vegetation was brown, and there was some evidence of collapse around the edges of the vents.

Source: GeoNet


Most Recent Bulletin Report: November 1987 (SEAN 12:11) Citation IconCite this Report

Tectonic seismic swarm; no co-seismic deformation

A short but intense sequence of earthquakes occurred in the Lake Rotomahana area of the [Tarawera] rift on 16 November. The largest event (ML 3.8) occurred at 1835, in the middle of the sequence; events continued until about 2000. A geodetic survey of the Lake Rotomahana strain monitoring pattern was completed ~20 minutes before the earthquake sequence commenced. Selected stations were reoccupied three days later but no significant co-seismic deformation was detected. All the earthquakes appeared to be of tectonic origin. Similar swarms were recorded 22-23 February 1986 and in February 1983.

The 17-km-long Tarawera Rift was the site of a vigorous eruption in 1886 that ejected ~0.7 km3 of basaltic magma in ~4 hours (Nairn and others, 1986); large phreatic explosions occurred from Lake Rotomahana, which has grown substantially since that eruption. Phreatic explosions have been recorded [16] times between 1896 and 1973 in the [Waimangu] thermal area to the SW, along the rift.

Reference. Nairn, I.A., Cole, J.W., Houghton, B.F., and Wilson, C.J.N., 1986, Tarawera 1886 eruption: International Volcanological Congress Handbook, 1-9 February 1986, p. 111-121.

Information Contacts: B. Scott, NZGS Rotorua; S. Sherburn, DSIR Geophysics, Wairakei.

Weekly Reports - Index


2016: June


15 June-21 June 2016 Citation IconCite this Report

GeoNet reported that the Mud Rift feature at Okataina's Waimangu Geothermal area erupted during 17-20 May, the first time since 1989. The Mud Rift geothermal vent formed in 1906 in the Raupo Pond Crater (one of multiple craters which formed in June 1886) and is 36 m long, 5-6 m wide, and 15 m deep. The steam-driven events mostly ejected fine sand and mud, and there was abundant evidence of fluids flooding into the rift, especially at the W end. Nearby vegetation was brown, and there was some evidence of collapse around the edges of the vents.

Source: GeoNet


Bulletin Reports - Index

Reports are organized chronologically and indexed below by Month/Year (Publication Volume:Number), and include a one-line summary. Click on the index link or scroll down to read the reports.

11/1982 (SEAN 07:11) Shallow earthquakes; no volcanic tremor

11/1987 (SEAN 12:11) Tectonic seismic swarm; no co-seismic deformation




Information is preliminary and subject to change. All times are local (unless otherwise noted)


November 1982 (SEAN 07:11) Citation IconCite this Report

Shallow earthquakes; no volcanic tremor

A series of shallow earthquakes occurred 23-29 September a few kilometers SE of Haroharo Dome, in the Okataina Volcanic Center (figure 1). The main earthquake was at 1423 on 23 September. A foreshock preceded it by about 3 minutes, and three of the four large aftershocks followed at 1429, 1440, and 1452 (table 1). Many other aftershocks were recorded, the last at 0530 on 29 September.

Figure (see Caption) Figure 1. Map showing the Haroharo Volcanic Complex and part of the Tarawera Volcano in the Okataina Volcanic Center. From Cole and Nairn (1975).

Table 1. Earthquakes of M > 2.5 recorded in the Okataina Volcanic Center during 23-29 September 1982.

Date Time Magnitude
23 Sep 1982 1420 [3.3]
23 Sep 1982 1423 4.1
23 Sep 1982 1429 2.6
23 Sep 1982 1440 3.2
23 Sep 1982 1452 [2.9]
27 Sep 1982 1806 [2.7]

I.A. Nairn, working on the N side of Tarawera Volcano (~11 km S of the epicenters) on 23 September, felt shocks and heard rockfalls nearby. He estimated the Modified Mercalli intensities of the foreshock and main shock as IV, and of the aftershocks at 1440 and 1452 at III-IV. He described the ground vibrations as low-frequency but relatively large-amplitude. Other nearby NZGS personnel noted the relatively low frequency of the felt shocks compared to typical local felt earthquakes. Observers noted that although they did not feel the shocks strongly outdoors, houses and vehicles resonated to large-amplitude vibrations. A small seiche was recorded on the N side of Lake Tarawera (7-8 km SW of the events). Three tilt networks around Tarawera Volcano showed no significant changes.

J.H. Latter placed the hypocenter for the 27 September event [at 38.129°S, 176.531°E, figure 1] about 5 km SE of Haroharo Dome at a depth of about 2 km. Nairn reported that this location coincides with a small area of surface faulting and geothermal activity. The 23 September earthquakes could not be located because of the lack of any nearby seismic records, but epicenters were estimated to be within 6 km of the 27 September event. Latter noted that the slow propagation of energy from the earthquakes and the low frequency of the felt shocks might suggest that they were "roof rock" events generated by activity in an underlying magma body. However, no volcanic tremor was detected during or after the earthquake sequence.

Although Haroharo has not been historically active, five eruptions in the last 10,000 years have been dated by 14C or tephrochronological methods. Very large explosive eruptions occurred roughly 2,050, 2,850, 5,050, and 7,050 years before the present (BP). Dome extrusion occurred at 2,450 years BP (± 400 years).

[Reference. Cole, J.W., and Nairn, I.A., 1975, Catalog of active volcanoes of the world, part XXII.]

Information Contacts: J. Latter, DSIR, Wellington; I. Nairn and B. Scott, NZGS, Rotorua; P. Otway, NZGS, Wairakei.


November 1987 (SEAN 12:11) Citation IconCite this Report

Tectonic seismic swarm; no co-seismic deformation

A short but intense sequence of earthquakes occurred in the Lake Rotomahana area of the [Tarawera] rift on 16 November. The largest event (ML 3.8) occurred at 1835, in the middle of the sequence; events continued until about 2000. A geodetic survey of the Lake Rotomahana strain monitoring pattern was completed ~20 minutes before the earthquake sequence commenced. Selected stations were reoccupied three days later but no significant co-seismic deformation was detected. All the earthquakes appeared to be of tectonic origin. Similar swarms were recorded 22-23 February 1986 and in February 1983.

The 17-km-long Tarawera Rift was the site of a vigorous eruption in 1886 that ejected ~0.7 km3 of basaltic magma in ~4 hours (Nairn and others, 1986); large phreatic explosions occurred from Lake Rotomahana, which has grown substantially since that eruption. Phreatic explosions have been recorded [16] times between 1896 and 1973 in the [Waimangu] thermal area to the SW, along the rift.

Reference. Nairn, I.A., Cole, J.W., Houghton, B.F., and Wilson, C.J.N., 1986, Tarawera 1886 eruption: International Volcanological Congress Handbook, 1-9 February 1986, p. 111-121.

Information Contacts: B. Scott, NZGS Rotorua; S. Sherburn, DSIR Geophysics, Wairakei.

This compilation of synonyms and subsidiary features may not be comprehensive. Features are organized into four major categories: Cones, Craters, Domes, and Thermal Features. Synonyms of features appear indented below the primary name. In some cases additional feature type, elevation, or location details are provided.

Eruptive History

There is data available for 31 confirmed Holocene eruptive periods.

1981 May 16 ± 15 days - 1981 May 16 ± 15 days Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Raupo Pond crater)
1981 May 16 ± 15 days - 1981 May 16 ± 15 days Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Raupo Pond crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1981 May    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1978 Feb 23 - 1978 Feb 23 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Raupo Pond, Inferno Crater)
1978 Feb 23 - 1978 Feb 23 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Raupo Pond, Inferno Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1978 Feb 23    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1973 Feb 22 - 1973 Feb 22 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1973 Feb 22 - 1973 Feb 22 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 3 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Earthquakes (undefined)
1973 Feb 22    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1951 Jun 16 ± 15 days Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Rotomahana
1951 Jun 16 ± 15 days - Unknown Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Rotomahana

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1951 Jun    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1926 Nov 17 - 1926 Nov 18 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Rotomahana
1926 Nov 17 - 1926 Nov 18 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Rotomahana

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1926 Nov 17    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1924 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1924 - Unknown Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1924    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1918 - 1920 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1918 - 1920 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1918    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1917 Mar 24 - 1917 Apr 4 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1917 Mar 24 - 1917 Apr 4 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 6 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow Uncertain
   - - - -    - - - - Blocks
   - - - -    - - - - Property Damage
1917 Mar 24    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)
1917 Apr 1    - - - - Fatalities

1915 Nov 5 - 1915 Nov 9 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1915 Nov 5 - 1915 Nov 9 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1915 Nov 5    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1915 Feb 4 - 1915 Apr 13 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater & NW of Fairy Crater)
1915 Feb 4 - 1915 Apr 13 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater & NW of Fairy Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1915 Feb 4    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1914 Jan 28 - 1914 Feb Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (NW of Fairy Crater)
1914 Jan 28 - 1914 Feb Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (NW of Fairy Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1914 Jan 28    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1913 Jan 27 - 1913 Jan 27 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1913 Jan 27 - 1913 Jan 27 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1913 Jan 27    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1912 Apr Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1912 Apr - Unknown Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1912 Apr    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1910 Jul 24 - 1910 Jul 25 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1910 Jul 24 - 1910 Jul 25 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1910 Jul 24    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1908 Oct 1 - 1908 Oct 1 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1908 Oct 1 - 1908 Oct 1 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1908 Oct 1    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1906 Feb 21 - 1906 Feb 21 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (NW of Fairy Crater)
1906 Feb 21 - 1906 Feb 21 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (NW of Fairy Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1906 Feb 21    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1905 Jun 17 - 1905 Jun 17 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1905 Jun 17 - 1905 Jun 17 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1905 Jun 17    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1905 Feb 18 - 1905 Feb 23 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1905 Feb 18 - 1905 Feb 23 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1905 Feb 18    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1900 Jan - 1904 Nov 1 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu Geyser
1900 Jan - 1904 Nov 1 Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 3 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu Geyser

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1900 Jan    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)
1903 Aug 30    - - - - Fatalities

1896 Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 1

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Waimangu (Echo Crater)
1896 - Unknown Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 2 Events for Episode 1 at Waimangu (Echo Crater)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
1896    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1886 Jun 10 - 1886 Aug Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 5

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Tarawera (Wahanga-Waimangu fissure)
1886 Jun 10 - 1886 Aug Evidence from Observations: Reported

List of 17 Events for Episode 1 at Tarawera (Wahanga-Waimangu fissure)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Eruption cloud
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Ash violent, strong, or large
   - - - -    - - - - Lapilli
   - - - -    - - - - Bombs
   - - - -    - - - - Blocks
   - - - -    - - - - Scoria
   - - - -    - - - - Lightning
   - - - -    - - - - Earthquakes (undefined) Before.
   - - - -    - - - - Earthquakes (undefined) After.
   - - - -    - - - - Seismicity (volcanic)
   - - - -    - - - - Lahar or Mudflow
   - - - -    - - - - Property Damage
1886 Jun 10    - - - - Fatalities
1886 Jun 10    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1310 ± 12 years - 1315 (?) Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 5

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Tarawera (Kaharoa eruption)
1310 ± 12 years - 1315 (?) Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 8 Events for Episode 1 at Tarawera (Kaharoa eruption)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava dome
   - - - -    - - - - Avalanche
   - - - -    - - - - Ash
   - - - -    - - - - Lahar or Mudflow
1310 ± 12 years    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

0180 (?) Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Te Kopia thermal area
0180 (?) - Unknown Evidence from Correlation: Tephrochronology

List of 1 Events for Episode 1 at Te Kopia thermal area

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity

0300 BCE (?) Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 0

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Mt. Edgecumbe
0300 BCE (?) - Unknown Evidence from Correlation: Tephrochronology

List of 3 Events for Episode 1 at Mt. Edgecumbe

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Lava flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava dome
0300 BCE (?)    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

1330 BCE ± 75 years Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Mt. Edgecumbe
1330 BCE ± 75 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 4 Events for Episode 1 at Mt. Edgecumbe

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Ash
   - - - -    - - - - Blocks

1750 BCE (?) Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 4

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Haroharo (Rotokawau to Rotoatua)
1750 BCE (?) - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 3 Events for Episode 1 at Haroharo (Rotokawau to Rotoatua)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Ash
1750 BCE (?)    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

3580 BCE ± 50 years Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 5

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Haroharo (Makatiti and other domes)
3580 BCE ± 50 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 6 Events for Episode 1 at Haroharo (Makatiti and other domes)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava dome
   - - - -    - - - - Ash
3580 BCE ± 50 years    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

5550 BCE (?) Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 0

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Mt. Edgecumbe
5550 BCE (?) - Unknown Evidence from Correlation: Tephrochronology

List of 3 Events for Episode 1 at Mt. Edgecumbe

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Lava flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava dome
5550 BCE (?)    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

6060 BCE ± 50 years Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 5

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Haroharo (Te Horoa & other domes)
6060 BCE ± 50 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 6 Events for Episode 1 at Haroharo (Te Horoa & other domes)

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava dome
   - - - -    - - - - Ash
6060 BCE ± 50 years    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

7560 BCE ± 18 years Confirmed Eruption Max VEI: 5

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode Rotoma caldera, Tuahu, Kawerau
7560 BCE ± 18 years - Unknown Evidence from Isotopic: 14C (calibrated)

List of 7 Events for Episode 1 at Rotoma caldera, Tuahu, Kawerau

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Explosion
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
   - - - -    - - - - Pyroclastic flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava flow
   - - - -    - - - - Lava dome
   - - - -    - - - - Ash
7560 BCE ± 18 years    - - - - VEI (Explosivity Index)

8050 BCE (?) Confirmed Eruption  

Episode 1 | Eruption Episode West Rerewhakaaitu fissures
8050 BCE (?) - Unknown Evidence from Correlation: Tephrochronology

List of 1 Events for Episode 1 at West Rerewhakaaitu fissures

Start Date End Date Event Type Event Remarks
   - - - -    - - - - Phreatic activity
Deformation History

There is data available for 1 deformation periods. Expand each entry for additional details.


Deformation during 2007 - 2009 [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 2007 Stop Date: 2009 Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Remarks: Long-term subsidence is associated with the Kawerau geothermal field.

Figure (see Caption)

Time series of line-of-sight displacement at Kawerau geothermal field from ALOS PALSAR ascending path 324 starting from 20061227 (date in YYYYMMDD format). Coordinates of top-left hand side (TL) and bottom-right hand side (BR) corners are (?37.95N, 176.60E) and (?38.15N, 176.80E). Red star shows region of fastest subsidence.

From: Samsonov et al. 2011.


Reference List: Samsonov et al. 2011.

Full References:

Samsonov S, Beavan J, Gonzalez P J, Tiampo K, Fernandez J, 2011. Ground deformation in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand, observed by ALOS PALSAR interferometry. Geophysical Journal International, 187(1), 147-160.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Okataina.

Photo Gallery

Eruptive fissures can follow the direction of regional faults, such as this New Zealand fissure that cuts diagonally across the photo. The 8-km-long fissure continues beneath the lake and was the source of a major explosive eruption in 1886 from Tarawera volcano. Most commonly, fissure vents extend radially down the flanks of a volcano from its summit. In some cases, circumferential fissures open around the rim of a volcanic caldera.

Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1986.
The 1886 eruptive fissure that cuts across the Tarawera lava dome complex was the source of a major explosive eruption that produced 2 cu km of basaltic tephra. The 1886 fissure cuts a group of lava domes, including the Wahanga dome at the top of the photo, which was emplaced at the end of the Kaharoa eruption about 800 years ago. That eruption produced 5 cu km of rhyolitic tephra and and another 2.5 cu km of rhyolitoc lava that formed the Wahanga, Tarawera, Crater Dome, and Ruawahia domes.

Copyrighted photo by Katia and Maurice Krafft, 1986.
This painting shows the 10 June 1886, eruption of Tarawera, as seen across Lake Tarawera from the NW. A brief, but powerful explosive eruption lasting 5 hours originated from a NE-trending fissure that cut across the Tarawera lava dome complex. The eruption ejected 2 cu km of basaltic tephra and produced pyroclastic surges that traveled at least 6 km from the vent. Several villages were buried, and 153 people were killed.

Chromolithograph of oil painting by Charles Blomfield (from the collection of Maurice and Katia Krafft).
The renowned hot spring terraces at Rotomahana, one of the scenic wonders of New Zealand until the 19th century, were destroyed and buried by the 1886 eruption of Tarawera. Otukapuarangi (the Pink Terrace), shown here, and the nearby Te Tarata (the White Terrace), had been among the world's most spectacular hot spring terraces, attracting visitors from around the world.

From the collection of Maurice and Katia Krafft.
The Haroharo volcanic complex is the NW-most of two lava dome complexes forming the Okataina Volcanic Centre. A 16 x 28 km wide caldera was formed incrementally during eruptions between 300,000 and 50,000 years ago. Its rim, seen in this photo across the caldera lake, is generally obscured by a group of overlying lava domes. All post-caldera domes are less than 20,000 years old, and the most recent Haroharo eruption took place about 3,500 years ago.

Photo by Ian Nairn (Geological Survey of New Zealand).
The 1886 Tarawera eruptive fissure, seen from the N, formed across lava domes of the 800-year-old Kaharoa eruption. The red and black rocks of the 1886 eruption, 20-30 m thick here, overlie white rhyolitic Kaharoa eruption deposits. This view shows a 2-km-long section of the 8-km en-echelon fissure with gray rocks of the Ruawahia lava dome appearing at the far end.

Photo by Bruce Houghton (Wairakei Research Center).
The SE part of the fissure within Ruawahia crater reveals stratigraphy from the circa 700 BP Kaharoa and 1886 CE eruptions. The 35-m-thick light-colored Kaharoa Plinian deposits at the base are largely obscured by talus fans of scoria from above. The thick overlying bright red scoria is from phase 2 of the 1886 eruption. Above it is a thin black zone (phase 3) consisting of very widespread scoria. Phase 4 (at the top) consists of white rhyolitic blocks ripped off the walls during the vent widening in the last half hour of the 10 June 1886 eruption.

Photo by Bruce Houghton (Wairakei Research Center).
The flat-topped Tarawera lava dome complex at the top of the photo to the NE is one of two large dome complexes forming the Okataina Volcanic Centre at the N end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone. An eruptive fissure that cuts the dome complex and extends across Lake Rotomahana to the foreground was the source of a major eruption in 1886. The Tarawera complex and the Haroharo complex off the photo to the left were both sources of major explosive eruptions during the Pleistocene and Holocene that produced large ignimbrite sheets.

Photo by Lloyd Homer, courtesy of Bruce Houghton (Wairakei Research Center).
The Kaharoa eruption about 700 years ago was the first Holocene eruption of the Tarawera lava dome complex in the Okataina Volcanic Centre. It produced an extensive rhyolitic tephra deposit that extended to the E coast of North Island. Geologist Pat Brown examines a charcoalized log within a pyroclastic flow deposit from this eruption. The upper part of the section consists of blocky debris from collapse of a rhyolitic lava dome at the end of the eruption.

Photo by Jim Cole (University of Canterbury).
The steaming Waimangu hot pool is located near the southern end of the 1886 Tarawera eruptive fissure. Intermittent phreatic eruptions took place from this and other craters south of Lake Rotomahana from 1886 until as recently as 1973. Waimangu (black water) geyser was active from 1900 until activity ceased on 1 November 1904.

Photo by Richard Waitt, 1986 (U.S. Geological Survey).
This large fissure produced during a major explosive eruption at Tarawera in 1886 is one of the youngest eruption features of the Okataina Volcanic Centre. Okataina is surrounded by extensive ignimbrite and pyroclastic deposits produced during caldera-forming eruptions. The subparallel NE-SW-trending Haroharo and Tarawera complexes consist of rhyolitic lava domes and associated lava flows that formed between about 15,000 and 800 years ago and impounded lakes against the margins of the Okataina ring structure.

Photo by Richard Waitt, 1986 (U.S. Geological Survey).
GVP Map Holdings

The maps shown below have been scanned from the GVP map archives and include the volcano on this page. Clicking on the small images will load the full 300 dpi map. Very small-scale maps (such as world maps) are not included. The maps database originated over 30 years ago, but was only recently updated and connected to our main database. We welcome users to tell us if they see incorrect information or other problems with the maps; please use the Contact GVP link at the bottom of the page to send us email.


Title: Bay of Plenty-Southern Havre Trough Physiography
Publisher: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1990
Series: Misc
Map Type: Bathymetric
Scale: 1:400,000
Map of Bay of Plenty-Southern Havre Trough Physiography

Title: Bay of Plenty
Publisher: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1989
Series: Coastal
Map Type: Bathymetric
Scale: 1:200,000
Map of Bay of Plenty

Title: New Zealand Geol
Publisher: NZGS, DSIR (Dept Scientific & Industrial Research)
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1987
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:2,000,000
Map of New Zealand Geol

Title: Central N Island, Touring Map
Publisher: Department of Lands and Survey New Zealand
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1986
Series: NZMS
Map Type: Geographic
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Central N Island, Touring Map

Title: New Zealand Topo Map
Publisher: Department of Lands and Survey New Zealand
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1983
Series: NZMS
Map Type: Topographic
Scale: 1:500,000
Map of New Zealand Topo Map

Title: Late Quaternary Tectonic Map of New Zealand
Publisher: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1977
Series: Misc Map Series
Map Type: Geology (Tectonic)
Scale: 1:2,000,000
Map of Late Quaternary Tectonic Map of New Zealand

Title: N Island, Geol Map of NZ
Publisher: NZGS, DSIR (Dept Scientific & Industrial Research)
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1975
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of N Island, Geol Map of NZ

Title: N Island, Quaternary Geol
Publisher: NZGS
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1973
Series: Misc
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of N Island, Quaternary Geol

Title: Quaternary Geology-North Island
Publisher: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1973
Series: Misc Map Series
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:1,000,000
Map of Quaternary Geology-North Island

Title: New Zealand
Publisher: US Central Intelligence Agency
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1971
Map Type: Geographic
Scale: 1:7,500
Map of New Zealand

Title: Rotorua
Publisher: Department of Scientific and Industrial Research
Country: New Zealand
Year: 1964
Series: NZMS 1
Map Type: Geology
Scale: 1:250,000
Map of Rotorua
Smithsonian Sample Collections Database

The following 20 samples associated with this volcano can be found in the Smithsonian's NMNH Department of Mineral Sciences collections, and may be availble for research (contact the Rock and Ore Collections Manager). Catalog number links will open a window with more information.

Catalog Number Sample Description Lava Source Collection Date
NMNH 116210-13 Basaltic Scoria TARAWERA --
NMNH 116210-14 Tephra TARAWERA --
NMNH 116210-15 Tephra TARAWERA, ROTOMAHANA CRATER --
NMNH 116210-16 Tephra TARAWERA --
NMNH 116210-18 Basalt Scoria HAROHARO --
NMNH 116210-19 Volcanic Ash HAROHARO --
NMNH 116210-20 Ignimbrite HAROHARO --
NMNH 116210-21 Welded Ignimbrite HAROHARO --
NMNH 116210-22 Rhyolite HAROHARO --
NMNH 117454-25 Perlite Tarawera South Dome; Waimrangu Volcanic Valley --
NMNH 117454-26 Rhyolite South Dome; Tarawera --
NMNH 117454-27 Rhyolite South Dome; Tarawera --
NMNH 117454-28 Rhyolite South Dome; Tarawera --
NMNH 117454-64 Basalt Tarawera --
NMNH 117636-1 Perlite -- --
NMNH 117636-2 Obsidian Tarawera --
NMNH 117636-3 Pumice Tarawera --
NMNH 117636-4 Obsidian Tarawera --
NMNH 117636-5 Obsidian Tarawera --
NMNH 117636-6 Obsidian Tarawera --
External Sites