Volcanoes


Taupo volcano last erupted over 1,800 years ago and is today filled by New Zealand's largest lake.

Lake Taupo fills the large caldera volcano.

Lake Taupo fills the large caldera volcano.

Taupo volcano first began to erupt over 300,000 years ago. It is very large and has many vents, most of which are now under Lake Taupo. Geological studies of Taupo show that the volcano makes up only the northern half of the lake and a small surrounding area but there have been numerous eruptions from different sites within this large volcano. Taupo is not a large mountain because the eruptions have been so explosive that all material has been deposited far from the vent and subsequent collapse of the ground has formed a caldera (a collapsed volcano).

Most Recent Eruption
When
about 1,800 years ago
Where
north-eastern Lake Taupo
Effects
The Taupo eruption was the most violent eruption in the world in the last 5,000 years; it was a complex series of events. The first phases of the eruption produced a series of five pumice and ash fall deposits over a wide area of the central North Island, especially east of Taupo and beyond Napier into Hawke Bay. The eruption culminated with a large and very energetic pyroclastic flow that devastated an area of about 20,000 km2 and filled all the major river valleys of the central North Island with pumice and ash. These pumice deposits can still be seen today and many of the major rivers in the North Island carry large amounts of this pumice when in flood. Rounded pumice found on the beaches of the North Island have come from this eruption. The Taupo eruption took place from a line of vents near the eastern side of the modern lake.