Mt Ruapehu warming up, Earthquakes continue

Mt Ruapehu warming up, Earthquakes continue

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GeoNet says recent data and observations at Mt Ruapehu’s crater lake indicates that the temperature is rising and is currently at around 22C.

The Volcanic Alert Level remains at 1, and the Aviation colour code remains green, the volcanic activity also remains low.

Earthquakes are also continuing to happen surrounding the volcano, but according to volcanologist experts there is not a concern of an eruption actually happening, but it is ‘unusual’ for the crater lake to be warming at this time of the year. 

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Over periods of months, Ruapehu’s Crater Lake has been going through heating and cooling cycles. Towards the end of September, the lake cooled to around 12C, which is the low point of the cycle.

During October, the lake has been warming up slowly and has now reached 22C, and the lake is overflowing via the outlet. Of course, these are normal observations for the start of a heating cycle.

Analysis of the lake water was collected on October 9 showing no significant changes in the makeup of the lake waters since the previous same was collected on Augst 9 of this year. The lake water pH remains at 0.8, ranging between 0.7 and 0.9 over the last six years.

Volcanologist Brad Scott Duty says these indicators have not varied very much in the last four to five years, and the late water chemistry has remained chemically similar throughout this period.

“Our interpretation of these observations is that the underlying vent areas are open to volcanic gases and geothermal fluids entering the lake and reacting with rock in the vents.”

“The intensity of volcanic tremor has remained weak over the past three months, and small earthquakes continue to be located in the vicinity of Mt Ruapehu.”

“None of these observations are unusual for Mt Ruapehu. All observations over the past months indicate that the volcano remains in a general state of minor unrest.”

The volcanic activity alert level reflects the current level of any volcanic activity around Mt Ruapehu, and at the lake, there’s no forecast of future activity,

Mt Ruapehu is an active volcano, and it has the potential to erupt with little to no warning when volcanic unrest plays out.

 

Image: Sam Hudson

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