With Mount Ruapehu in its current state, there is a small chance a minor eruption may occur. If one occurred it could affect the summit craters area. It must be noted the likelihood of any eruption is not high and the Volcanic Alert level set by GNS Science is still 1, its normal level. Normal operations for visitors to the area are continuing.
“Operations at all three ski areas, roads and areas surrounding the mountain are not affected,” says Paul Carr, Conservation Services Manager.
“Eruption Detection Systems on the mountain are fully operational and other precautions have been taken at the Far West T-bar area,” says Dr Harry Keys DOC’s volcanology advisor.
He says advisory signs are being erected at the top of Whakapapa and Turoa ski areas and the Tukino Road end.
Because of uncertainties about the state of the vent system under Crater Lake, DOC recommends a precautionary approach is taken by climbers and others planning to visit the summit area of the mountain, including that they:
- don't go within 400 m of the Crater Lake.
- shouldn't go past Whakapapa Col or the Dome Shed or enter into the crater from above Turoa ski area
- shouldn't camp in the summit area
- shouldn't linger in the bottoms of valleys in the Whangaehu and Whakapapaiti catchments away from the public warning systems.
Most of these recommendations are consistent with the normal precautions for people to minimise the time spent in the crater basin area and not camp within a kilometre of any active vent in the National Park.
DOC and GNS are continuing to monitor the situation and to obtain more information from the Crater Lake. A further media release will be issued as soon as the situation becomes clear and the advisory signs can be removed.
The active volcanoes of Tongariro National Park, Mount Ruapehu, Mount Tongariro and Mount Ngauruhoe can produce spectacular eruptions. These events may create serious risks to people near them but there is no evidence they are likely at the present time.
The volcanic hazard is continually monitored by GNS to ensure any changes in the volcanic state are detected at the earliest possible time and communicated to DOC and Ruapehu Alpine Lifts as necessary so appropriate procedures are put in place.