Mt Ruapehu Crater Lake: Steam plumes as lake heats

Published: Fri Sep 30 2016 12:00 PM

Volcanic Alert BulletinRUA - 2016/09
Fri Sep 30 2016 11:50 AM; Ruapehu Volcano
Volcanic Alert Level remains at 1
Aviation Colour Code remains Green

This morning, steam plumes have been visible above Mt Ruapehu’s Crater Lake. The lake temperature is now 37 ºC as part of a heating episode that began around 2-3 September 2016. No seismic or acoustic activity has been recorded this morning, indicating the steam plume was not generated by activity in the lake. The Volcanic Alert Level for Mt Ruapehu remains at Level 1 (minor volcanic unrest) and the Aviation Colour Code also remains unchanged at Green.

The active crater at Mt Ruapehu is occupied by Crater Lake. Crater Lake displays temperatures that typically range between about 15 and 40 °C and the phases can last between about 9 and 20 months. The lake cooled to a minimum of 12 °C in mid-August and then remained at 13-14 °C until early September when it started to heat again. Based on past experience, as the lake continues to heat up, more occasional steam plumes can be expected. This is often controlled by atmospheric conditions near the mountain.

There have been no local volcanic earthquakes or changes in the levels of volcanic tremor this morning on the GeoNet instruments at Ruapehu. GNS Science volcanologists continue to closely monitor Ruapehu through the GeoNet project.

Web Camera image at 09:19h showing the steam plume

Web Camera image at 09:19h showing the steam plume

Geoff Kilgour Duty Volcanologist

Media Contact: Brad Scott Volcanologist

phone 07 3748211