Taupō volcano last erupted over 1,800 years ago and is today filled by New Zealand's largest lake.
Taupō 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 Taupō. Geological studies of Taupō 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. Taupō 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
- about 1,800 years ago
- north-eastern Lake Taupō
- The Taupō 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 Taupō 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 Taupō eruption took place from a line of vents near the eastern side of the modern lake.