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Taupo

Photo of this volcano
  • Country
  • Primary Volcano Type
  • Last Known Eruption
  •  
  • 38.82°S
  • 176°E

  • 760 m
    2493 ft

  • 241070
  • Latitude
  • Longitude

  • Summit
    Elevation

  • Volcano
    Number
Most Recent Weekly Report: 21 September-27 September 2022 Citation IconCite this Report

On 28 September GeoNet reported that seismic unrest and deformation at Taupo continued during the previous week. About 750 earthquakes have been located at depths of 4-13 km beneath the lake since unrest began in May. During the past week the locations were concentrated beneath the E part of the lake and occurred at a slightly lower rate than the week before. An area of deformation at Horomatangi Reef had been rising at a rate of 60 mm (plus or minus 20 mm) per year since May. The data suggested that the seismicity and deformation was caused by the movement of magma and hydrothermal fluids. GeoNet noted that unrest at calderas was common and may continue for months or years without resulting in an eruption; more significant unrest would be indicated by additional indicators of activity and substantial impacts on the local area. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 (the second lowest level on a six-level scale) reflecting “minor volcanic unrest” characterized by ongoing seismicity and inflation.

Source: GeoNet

Weekly Reports - Index


2022: September


21 September-27 September 2022 Citation IconCite this Report

On 28 September GeoNet reported that seismic unrest and deformation at Taupo continued during the previous week. About 750 earthquakes have been located at depths of 4-13 km beneath the lake since unrest began in May. During the past week the locations were concentrated beneath the E part of the lake and occurred at a slightly lower rate than the week before. An area of deformation at Horomatangi Reef had been rising at a rate of 60 mm (plus or minus 20 mm) per year since May. The data suggested that the seismicity and deformation was caused by the movement of magma and hydrothermal fluids. GeoNet noted that unrest at calderas was common and may continue for months or years without resulting in an eruption; more significant unrest would be indicated by additional indicators of activity and substantial impacts on the local area. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 1 (the second lowest level on a six-level scale) reflecting “minor volcanic unrest” characterized by ongoing seismicity and inflation.

Source: GeoNet


14 September-20 September 2022 Citation IconCite this Report

On 20 September GeoNet raised the Volcanic Alert Level for Taupo to 1 (the second lowest level on a six-level scale) reflecting “minor volcanic unrest” characterized by ongoing seismicity and inflation. Seismicity beneath Lake Taupo began increasing in May. Earthquakes occurred at a rate of about 30 per week but increased to about 40 per week in early September. A M 4.2 earthquake, the largest so far this year, was recorded on 10 September and felt by over 1,000 people. By 20 September over 700 earthquakes had been located with depths less than 30 km, though most ranged 4-13 km. The earthquake locations were in two clusters: a larger cluster beneath the central and E part of the lake, and a smaller cluster to the W centered just offshore from Karangahape. An area of deformation at Horomatangi Reef had been rising at a rate of 60 mm (plus or minus 20 mm) per year since May. The area of uplift corresponded to the main seismic swarm. The data suggested that the seismicity and deformation was caused by the movement of magma and hydrothermal fluids.

GeoNet noted that unrest at calderas was common and may continue for months or years without resulting in an eruption; more significant unrest would be indicated by additional indicators of activity and substantial impacts on the local area. There have been 17 previous episodes of unrest at Taupo over the previous 150 years, some more notable than the current episode, and many others before written records. None resulted in an eruption, with the last eruption occurring around 232 CE. The Volcanic Alert Level change was informed by ongoing analysis of monitoring data, research, and deepening knowledge of past unrest.

Source: GeoNet


The Global Volcanism Program has no Bulletin Reports available for Taupo.

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 25 Holocene eruptive periods.

Start Date Stop Date Eruption Certainty VEI Evidence Activity Area or Unit
0260 (?) Unknown Confirmed 0 Correlation: Tephrochronology East Lake Taupo (Horomatangi Reefs)
0233 Mar 15 ± 13 years ± 20 days Unknown Confirmed 6 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) Horomatangi Reefs area, Unit Y
0200 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 4 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit X
0800 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 2 Correlation: Tephrochronology Ouaha Hills, Unit W
1010 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 4 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit V
1050 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 5 km NE of Motutaiko Island, Unit U
1250 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 4 km W of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit T
1460 BCE ± 40 years Unknown Confirmed 6 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) Horomatangi Reefs?, Unit S
2500 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 3 km SW of Motutaiko Island, Unit R
2600 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 3 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit Q
2800 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Correlation: Tephrochronology Unit P
2850 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 2 km S of Te Tuhi Point, Unit O
2900 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 5 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit N
3070 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 5 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit M
3120 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Correlation: Tephrochronology 2 km W of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit L
3170 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 4 km NW of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit K
3420 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) Unit J
4000 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) Unit I
4100 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 4 km WNW of Kohaiakahu Point, Unit H
4700 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) East-central Lake Taupo, Unit G
5100 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 3 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) SE Lake Taupo (Motutaiko Island) (Unit F)
8130 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) Central, E-central L. Taupo (Opepe), Unit E
9210 BCE (?) Unknown Confirmed 4 Correlation: Tephrochronology Acacia Bay lava dome, Unit D
9240 BCE ± 75 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) 4 km W of Te Kohaiakahu Point, Unit C (Poronui)
9460 BCE ± 200 years Unknown Confirmed 5 Isotopic: 14C (calibrated) East-central Lake Taupo (Karapiti), Unit B
Deformation History

There is data available for 6 deformation periods. Expand each entry for additional details.


Deformation during 1999 - 2010 [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 1999 Stop Date: 2010 Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

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

Figure (see Caption)

Time series of line-of-sight displacement at Ohaaki geothermal field from ALOS PALSAR ascending path 325 starting from 20070113 (date in YYYYMMDD format). Coordinates of TL and BR corners are (?38.48N, 176.25E) and (?38.58N, 176.40E). Red star shows region of fastest subsidence.

From: Samsonov et al. 2011.


Reference List: Hole et al. 2007; Samsonov et al. 2011.

Full References:

Hole, J. K., C. J. Bromley, N. F. Stevens, and G. Wadge, 2007. Subsidence in the geothermal fields of the Taupo volcanic zone, New Zealand from 1996 to 2005 measured by InSAR. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 166: 125-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.07.013

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.

Deformation during 1996 - 2010 [Subsidence; Observed by InSAR]

Start Date: 1996 Stop Date: 2010 Direction: Subsidence Method: InSAR
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

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

Figure (see Caption)

Time series of line-of-sight displacement at Tauhara-Wairakei geothermal system from ALOS PALSAR ascending path 325 starting from 20070113 (date in YYYYMMDD format). Coordinates of TL and BR corners are (?38.58N, 176.00E) and (?38.72N, 176.17E). Red star shows region of fastest subsidence.

From: Samsonov et al. 2011.


Reference List: Hole et al. 2007; Samsonov et al. 2011.

Full References:

Hole, J. K., C. J. Bromley, N. F. Stevens, and G. Wadge, 2007. Subsidence in the geothermal fields of the Taupo volcanic zone, New Zealand from 1996 to 2005 measured by InSAR. J. Volcanol. Geotherm. Res., 166: 125-146. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2007.07.013

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.

Deformation during 1996 - 1999 [Uplift; Observed by Leveling]

Start Date: 1996 Stop Date: 1999 Direction: Uplift Method: Leveling
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Reference List: Otway et al. 2002.

Full References:

Otway, P. M., Blick, G. H., & Scott, B. J., 2002. Vertical deformation at Lake Taupo, New Zealand, from lake levelling surveys, 1979-99. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45(1), 121-132.

Deformation during 1984 - 1996 [Subsidence; Observed by Leveling]

Start Date: 1984 Stop Date: 1996 Direction: Subsidence Method: Leveling
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Reference List: Otway et al. 2002.

Full References:

Otway, P. M., Blick, G. H., & Scott, B. J., 2002. Vertical deformation at Lake Taupo, New Zealand, from lake levelling surveys, 1979-99. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45(1), 121-132.

Deformation during 1983 - 1984 [Uplift; Observed by Leveling]

Start Date: 1983 Stop Date: 1984 Direction: Uplift Method: Leveling
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Remarks: Deformation at Lake Taupo is observed from 1983 to 1984 and is related to an earthquake swarm that began on 17 June 1983.


Reference List: Otway et al. 2002.

Full References:

Otway, P. M., Blick, G. H., & Scott, B. J., 2002. Vertical deformation at Lake Taupo, New Zealand, from lake levelling surveys, 1979-99. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45(1), 121-132.

Deformation during 1979 - 1982 [Variable (uplift / subsidence); Observed by Leveling]

Start Date: 1979 Stop Date: 1982 Direction: Variable (uplift / subsidence) Method: Leveling
Magnitude: Unknown Spatial Extent: Unknown Latitude: Unknown Longitude: Unknown

Reference List: Otway et al. 2002.

Full References:

Otway, P. M., Blick, G. H., & Scott, B. J., 2002. Vertical deformation at Lake Taupo, New Zealand, from lake levelling surveys, 1979-99. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 45(1), 121-132.

Emission History

There is no Emissions History data available for Taupo.

Photo Gallery

An aerial view shows the E margin of Lake Taupo with Taupo City on its shore. The 35-km-wide caldera is not topographically prominent but has been the source of powerful rhyolitic eruptions from the late Pleistocene throughout the Holocene. The 35,000-year-old Tauhara lava dome forms the peak in the background.

Photo by Jim Healy (New Zealand Geological Survey).
Volcanologists Colin Wilson and Peter Ballance examine a roadcut that dissects deposits of major eruptions from the Taupo volcanic center. The bottom visible unit is an exposure of an unwelded pyroclastic flow deposit from the Oruanui eruption, which formed Taupo's initial caldera about 22,600 years ago. Light-colored pumice fall deposits from other major eruptions are between it and the deposits of the 1,800-year-old Taupo eruption (upper right), which were responsible for Taupo's second caldera.

Photo by Bruce Houghton (Wairakei Research Center).
This view looking SW across Lake Taupo, the southernmost major caldera of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, shows several major peaks of Tongariro and Ruapehu. The broad forested peak below the center horizon is the Pleistocene Pihanga volcano. The steep-sided cone on the horizon to its right is Ngāuruhoe, the youngest cone of the Tongariro complex. The broad massif to its right is Tongariro. The snow-capped massif on the left-center horizon is Ruapehu.

Photo by Tom Simkin, 1986 (Smithsonian Institution).
Lake Taupo fills a roughly 35-km-wide caldera that is the site of the most prolific rhyolitic volcano of the Taupo volcanic zone. The caldera was formed during two major explosive eruptions, the Oruanui eruption, roughly 22,600 years ago, and the Taupo eruption, about 1,800 years ago. The latter was one of the world's largest Holocene eruptions. Additional Plinian eruptions during the Holocene have produced widespread airfall pumice deposits.

Photo by Richard Waitt, 1986 (U.S. Geological Survey).
This thick outcrop exposes deposits of the 1,800-year-old Taupo eruption, one of the world's largest during the past 10,000 years. The Taupo eruption produced phreatomagmatic surge deposits, Plinian tephra deposits, and the overlying Taupo ignimbrite, seen at the upper half of this photo above the thin, light-colored layers. The eruption occurred from a vent at Horomatangi Reefs, now submerged beneath Lake Taupo.

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 28 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 116210-10 Pumice -- --
NMNH 116210-11 Pumice -- --
NMNH 116210-12 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-23 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-24 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-25 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-28 Welded Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-29 Welded Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-30 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-32 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-33 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-34 Basalt -- --
NMNH 116210-35 Rhyolite -- --
NMNH 116210-37 Ignimbrite LAKE TAUPO --
NMNH 116210-38 Ignimbrite LAKE TAUPO --
NMNH 116210-4 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-5 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-6 Airfall Pumice -- --
NMNH 116210-7 Pumice -- --
NMNH 116210-8 Ignimbrite -- --
NMNH 116210-9 Volcanic Ash -- --
NMNH 116566-12 Volcanic Rock TAUHARA --
NMNH 116691-5 Pyroclastic Rock -- 1 Feb 1986
NMNH 116691-9 Pyroclastic Rock -- --
NMNH 117454-55 Pumice -- --
NMNH 117454-56 Obsidian -- --
NMNH 117454-57 Obsidian Taupo breccia --
NMNH 117551-15 Obsidian Tauhara 'dacite' flow; Tauhara --
External Sites