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Ruapehu is one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes and forms the highest peak of the North Island. The andesitic stratovolcano has an age of around 200,000 years and contains a large summit crater containing a lake. Eruptions from the vent inside the lake often cause the lake to drain and form dangerous lahars.
Tremor spectrum and amplitude at Ruapehu volcano (GeoNet)
Volcanic tremor (which is normally present at the volcano) has increased a notch since mid October, but not enough to trigger a raise in alert status of the volcano (which remains at level 1). New Zealand's GNS Science issued a note but does not expect the volcano to erupt soon. ...more
The temperature of the crater lake had again been rising since early September, reaching a maximum of 40ºC on 4 October. [less]
Ruapehu's crater lake in August 2016 (image: Geonet)
After reaching record-low temperatures in August, the volcano's closely-monitored crater lake has started to heat up very quickly since 2 September, Geonet reported. ...more
Ruapehu's crater lake displays temperatures that follow periodic cooling and heating cycles that range between about 15 and 40 °C. In mid August, a record-low of 12 °C was measured, but New Zealand scientists have detected a rapid increase in temperature over the past days, along with increased seismic activity inside the volcano.
Temperature of the crater lake in August (image: Geonet)
Ruapehu's heating / cooling cycles over the past years (image: Geonet)
On 17 May GeoNet reported that the lake temperature of Ruapehu's summit Crater Lake had decreased from a high of 46 degrees Celsius to 39 degrees, with some of the decrease attributed to rain and snowfall. ...more
Moderate levels of volcanic tremor continued, and analysis of water samples collected the previous week showed no changes in the lake chemistry. During recent visits, scientists measured a larger output of volcanic gases. The Volcanic Alert Level remained at 2 (moderate to heightened unrest) and the Aviation Colour Code remained at Yellow. (from: Smithsonian / USGS Weekly Volcanic Activity Report 11-17 May 2016) [less]
The alert level of the volcano was raised by a notch from 1 to Level 2 (moderate to heightened unrest) last Wednesday, Geonet informed in a special note. ...more
This was triggered by recent measurements that showed an increase in the degassing from Mt Ruapehu’s Crater Lake, a rise in temperature from 25 to 45 deg C since mid April, and ongoing moderate levels of volcanic tremor (reflecting the degassing). The Aviation Color Code was also raised from Green to Yellow. [less]
Seismic recording at Ruapehu volcano today (Far West station / Geonet)
An earthquake swarm has been occurring at the volcano since 26 April. ...more
According to Geonet, such seismic swarms indicating small rock-fracturing events have been rare at the volcano in recent years. Ruapehu's typical seismic activity is rather dominated by events reflecting internal circulation of fluids such as tremor. Another sign of unrest has been noted as well: the temperature of the crater lake has risen since Mid April from 25 to 40°C, although no other parameter (e.g. chemistry) has changed significantly. [less]
The level of seismic activity has decreased. ...more
“During April we recorded intermittently moderate to strong levels of volcanic tremor at Mt Ruapehu, however since April 28 the level has more than halved” reported volcanologist Brad Scott. Mt Ruapehu’s Crater Lake has started to cool. The temperature had declined to about 37°C in late April and is now at 34°C. The lake has been in a heating phase which started in late 2014 when the lake was 15°C, reaching a peak of over 40°C in late January–early February 2015 (see RUA 2015/02). [less]
Intermittent moderate to strong volcanic tremor has been observed at the volcano during the past 2-3 weeks, GNS Science reported. The seismic activity is among the strongest observed in the past 8 years. ...more
The temperature of the crater lake declined a bit to from its peak of over 40°C in late January–early February 2015 to about 31°C in mid March and is now at 37-39°C. from the GeoNet report: [less]
The crater lake temperature has been increasing since early December 2014, rising from 15 to over 40 deg C. This is not seen as a sign that an eruption is to be expected in the near futures and the alert level remains at level 1, meaning minor unrest only. ...more
The volcano's lake undergoes frequent cycles of cooling and heating. It seems that the lake is now at the peak of the current cycle. Similar temperatures were recorded in March 2011 and April 2014, before the lake cooled again. [less]
Recent measurements by NZ scientists indicate that the volcano's crater lake is currently in a cooling trend. At 15 deg C, it has the lowest temperature recorded since April 2010. ...more
According to GeoNet, the current cycle is part of the normal behavior of the lake. It does not exclude the possibility of a sudden eruption, although makes it less likely. Heat flow and chemistry indicate the vents are not sealed from the lake. [less]
GNS reported that "the temperature of Crater Lake has started to rise and has now reached 30°C. It has been accompanied by some minor volcanic tremor. The chemistry data from our last sampling trip confirms the decline of temperature in the deep geothermal system. ...more
Volcanologist Brad Scott said these data indicate the Crater Lake is returning to a more typical state, where heat and gas flow from depth is entering the lake. The anomaly of higher heat at depth and cooler temperatures in the lake appears to have passed. However the volcano remains in unrest and eruptions could still occur with no warning." [less]
Unrest at the volcano is decreasing. GNS scientists have been able to confirm that the temperatures at depth of the crater lake have started to decline, although still remain elevated. ...more
The Crater Lake temperature remains static at 22-25°C, which might indicate that a partial blockage between the deeper hydrothermal system and the Crater Lake remains. Because of the resulting potential to increase pressure at depth over time, which could result in sudden explosions, GNS maintains Volcano Alert Level 1 (elevated level of unrest). [less]
On 3 December, GeoNet reported that monitoring data suggested that Ruapehu continued in a state of unrest. Scientists aboard an overflight observed that the crater lake was quiet and that the temperature remained steady at 22 degrees Celsius. Seismicity had decreased since the early part of November.
New Zealand scientists monitoring Ruapehu volcano detected signs of increased volcanic unrest and raised the alert level of the volcano. The likelihood of new eruptions over the next weeks to months has increased, GNS Science said in their latest press release. ...more
GNS scientists recorded increasing numbers of small earthquakes about 5 km beneath the summit area of Ruapehu, and think that the temperature at vents at the bottom of the lake is around 800 deg C, although the lake itself is only 20 deg C and has decreased its temperature since January this year. [less]
No unusual activity has been seen recently at Ruhapehu volcano. This is the latest update from GeoNet: ...more
" The Crater Lake was last hot in December 2011/January 2012 when temperatures rose to over 35 °C. Since then the lake has cooled, reaching about 16 °C in May and has fluctuated between 18 and 24 °C since then. When visited last week the temperature was 19.5 °C. The lake is a blue-green colour with weak convection near the centre. [less]
Ruapehu volcano who last erupted in 1995-96 might be heading towards a new eruptive cycle. The temperature of the crater lake has increased to 40C and other indicators such as seismicity and deformation all point towards a gradual reawakening.
Elevated gas output and high lake temperatures continue, while volcanic tremor has declined. Unrest continues at Ruapehu and it remains unclear if this is a sign of further eruptions. The volcano last erupted on September 25 2007. The Alert Level remains at Level 1. ...more
Sunday morning at 10:47 am local time, a section of Ruapehu volcano's crater walls collapsed under the pressure of the crater lake. The sudden draining of the lake caused a devastating lahar that travelled down from its altitude at 2500 m to sea level. Fortunately, the flash flood of mud drained through a river channel and no people were injured or killed. Authorities closed roads and the nation's main trunk rail track near the southern base of the mountain on New Zealand's North Island. A similar event happened in 1953 killed when a lahar killed 151 people when it washed away a rail bridge, plunging a passenger train into the raging torrent of mud.
Current activity of Bardarbunga volcano, Iceland: An intense seismic crisis started at Bárdarbunga volcano on 16 August 2014 and is continuing at the time of writing (23 Aug). It may or may not lead to a volcanic eruption, possibly under the Vatnajökull ice cap.
Follow updates as news come in!
Earthquakes near Volcanoes: Our world-wide map continuously detects shallow earthquakes near volcanoes. These could be early signs of unrest and often precede eruptions.
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