Ice Cliff Collapses into Crater Lake

A spectacular collapse of ice and snow into the crater lake has been observed at Mt Ruapehu, according to Hazardwatch.

The collapse, which occurred on Wednesday 30th August, involved about 25,000 cubic metres of ice and snow which broke off an ice cliff under Paretetaitonga Peak. The 5:30 a.m. event caused lake water to splash 3 metres into the air and left small icebergs floating in the volcano’s normally hot lake.

The central North Island has had several dumps of snow this winter, and nearby skifields Whakapapa and Turoa are enjoying steady trade with snow more than 2 metres deep. During mid-July, the mountain received its heaviest dump of snow for 15 years, when 1.1 metres fell over 4 days.

Ruapehu’s crater lake has been cooling since it peaked at 32 °C in early June and is now at 13 °C, the coolest it has been since the 1995/6 eruptions. Earthquake activity which has been occurring at a depth of 10-15 km below the southern flank of the volcano between Ohakune and Turoa Skifield since August 23rd has also eased, but some volcanic tremor still continues.

[Compiled from data supplied by GNS Science’s Hazard Watch service.]

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