Department of Conservation warns about possible eruption of Mount Ruapehu

Department of Conservation warns about possible eruption of Mount Ruapehu

Mount Ruapehu is an active volcano located at the Tongariro National Park in the North Island. The volcano last erupted nine years ago. This is the same volcano that was shown in the movie ‘Lord of The Rings’ as the wasteland of Mordor. New Zealand's Department of Conservation (DOC) is warning trekkers to stay away from the Summit Hazard Zone due to possibility for the eruption to take place.

Summit Hazard Zone is located within 2 kilometers of the Crater Lake's center. An increased level of activity at the zone has suggested for moderate to heightened unrest. The lake's temperature increased to 46 degrees Celsius (115 degrees Fahrenheit) from 25 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahreinheit) since mid-April.

There is constant danger to those who will pass the volcano. Each year, thousands of people cross the popular ‘Tongariro Crossing’, which is a 20-kilometer (12-mile) passage, during which people pass three volcanoes near the area.

"We recommend climbers, trampers and walkers do not enter the zone. Guiding companies should also heed the advice and not take people into the zone", said DOC Operations Manager for Tongariro Paul Carr.

Dr. Harry Keys from DOC's Technical Advisor Volcanology said rivers that drain the Summit Hazard Zone and Crater Lake could rise suddenly. Keys warned people who want to walk towards the Whangaehu, Whakapapaiti, Whakapapanui and Mangaturuturu streams of any possible lahar noise from upstream and advised to cross the streams as fast as possible.

Mount Ruapehu is New Zealand's biggest active volcano. It started erupting approximately 250,000 years ago and has three major peaks that are Paretetaitonga, Tahurangi, and Te Heuheu. It has become popular hotspot after the movie The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which has the volcano on it.