Lake Taupo:New Zealand
Lake Taupos placid waters hide a supervolcano which lends its name to the Taupo volcanic zone. Arriving at Taupo don't expect to see a classical cone shaped volcano, the volcano is flat and so large you may not realise you are standing on it or even floating on it! Lake Taupo is up to 186m deep and has a circumference of over 190km. It is the largest lake in New Zealand sits within an enormous caldera formed from a massive volcanic eruption 26,500 years ago. This a sleeping giant similar to Yellowstone.Lake Taupo Webcam
The Geology Bit
The volcano sits within the Taupo Volcanic Zone above a subduction zone or destrucive boundary caused by the the subduction of the Pacific plate in an easterly direction beneath the Indo-Australian plate. TVZ is an extensional basin above the subduction zone which allows magma to well up and rise to the suface in large quantities. The decending slab of cold and dense Pacific Oceanic crust releases fluids which aids melting of the mantle wedge above. The magma then rises to the surface through weaknesses and cracks in the crust above and erupts as a volcano. The dominant composition of the volcanic rocks is Rhyolite and most of this has been erupted as pumice.Rhyolite lava domes have the same composition as granite and are rich in silica which makes the magma very sticky and explosive.
Lake Taupo lies within a caldera caused by the collapse of a magma chamber after an enormous eruption (Oruanui eruption)occured 26,500. Taupo has been frequently active in recent geological time and , erupting 28 times during the past 27,000 years. The last eruption was one of the largest in 180 CE/AD and ejected 100km3 into the atmosphere. The effects were seen as far away as Rome and China . The eruption devastated much of North Island but had little direct effect on people as the area was not populated.
Huge pyroclastic flows climbed 1500 metres to flow over the Kaimanawa Mountains and nearby Mt.Tongariro and covered the land with ignimbrite (the deposits left by a pyroclastic flow) up to 80 km away. The eruption cloud would hve been twice as high as the cloud at Mt.St.Helens .Rhyolite lava domes were extruded afterwards.www.teara.govt.nz:Geological Background of New Zealand
www.laketaupo.com: Taupo volcanic zone
www.natureandco.com: Volcanoes in New Zealand
Volcanoworld: Taupo Volcanic Zone
What to see and How to see it?
Taupo is one of New Zealands Hot spots for visitors,tourists and adventure activities as well as the volcanic sites there is plenty to do whether its thrills or relaxation you are looking for. The area attracts 1.2million tourists a year. with Christmas and New Year being very popular. Remember if you live in the Northern Hemisphere Christmas falls in the New Zealand Summer.
Craters of the moon geothermal field will give you more of what you might expect from volcano.Steaming vents, bubbling mud pools and a sulphurous smell. The area was however partly created by man when the Wairakei valley Geothermal power staion was constructed 2000m away.The power staion lowered groundwater levels so that more steam was produced and the mudpools became more bubbly! The craters started to appear as the ground subsided.
Your children might believe the volcano thing if you take them here. Boardwalks lead round a trail for about 30 minutes and its free to get in!Huka Falls
The Waikato river drains from Lake taupo through a narrow gorge to form 20m high waterfall and cascade through a 20 wide canyon. The last drop is 11m.www.hukafalls.com jet boat ride
A one day trek (8-9hours) through across a dramatic volcanic landsape, one of the bet day walks in New Zealand. Start out from National Park Village. If you are feling fit you an climb Mt. Ngauruhoe or Mt.Tongariro. You will need to be shuttled from the start and end of the track . Take adequate warm and waterproof clothing. Food,water and a map. Don't attempt the walk in poor weather or alone. Assess your fitness and experience and take advice.Recommended site
www.tonarirocrossing.org.nz : All you need to know
www.thetongarirocrosing.co.uk : Organised Hikes
www.tongarirocrossing.com : Shuttle bus comapny
www.natureandco.co.uk : Virtual tour of the walk
Taupo is a small city of 22 000 on the north eastern shore of the lake. It thrives on tourism and has all the visitor facilites you could want. It is a good place to stay and provides all sorts of adventurous activites that New Zealand has become known for. A selection is below more can be found at www.laketaupo.comSkydiving:www.freefall.net.nzwww.taupotandemskidiving.com
Whitewater rafting: www.raftingkayaking.co.nz
Bungy jumping: www.taupobungy.co.nz
Taupo is host to several major sporting events including the A1 Grand Prix series,Iron man New Zealand and World Waterski Championships.
www.laketaupo.com : Accomodation , activities
Taupo Scenic highlights
Global Volcanism project