Ruapehu Erupts

Latest bulletins (culled from

Ruapehu update 8.30 am - eruptions on 12 October

While we slept, Ruapehu burst back into action, with a 3 hour continuous eruption from 2am. A person travelling on the Desert Road at the time reported ash falling like hail on his windscreen, and glowing objects being hurled high in the air. A woman at Waikaremoana says everything is covered in ash, like there's been a snowstorm.

(The news right now at 8.30am says eruptions are continuing and the Desert Road is closed, while much of the eastern North Island is experiencing ashfall.)

Ash fall was 5cm deep on the Desert Road, and has fallen heavily to the east as far as Gisborne. Reports from Wairoa (near Gisborne) say the ash is constantly in the air as it is stirred uo from the ground and trees (etc) where it has fallen. (see big NZ map at REDACTED. ) People are urged to turn off their rainwater tanks, and to cover all tanks against ash pollution.

Gisborne airport is closed, and others are likely to be closed as the ash spreads on the wind. People in affected areas who have respiratory difficulties are advised to cover their nose and mouth if they have to go outside. People are advised not to drive as the constant ash in the air will cause significant damage to air filters and so on.

Eruptive activity is expected to continue at a low level, with more of these longer-lasting (but less explosive than the earlier) eruptions leading to large amounts of ash. There are likely to be some intermittent bigger bursts (like the one that threw up hot rocks last night.)

Raewyn Whyte ---- --- 

8 October 12.30pm

Ruapheu spat out hot rocks yesterday afternoon, and sent a plume of steam several thousand feet high. The rocks landed within 1km of the crater, within the no-go zone on the eastern side of the mountain, causing secondary lahar flows in the Whangaehu catchment. Recorded seismic activity within the volcano was equivalent to previously highest levels. The above combination of activities confirms the mountain is entering a pyroclastic phase.

Unfortunately, the volcano-cam has been broadcasting a black frame for the past 36 hours so we haven't seen any of the excitement (perhaps the folks in the Chateau forgot to open the curtains?)

Skiing continues on the Whakapapa ski field, and the Civil Defence level remains at level 3.

Raewyn Whyte --- --- 

Fri Oct 6, 11am

Radio NZ newsflash reported that after 5 quiet days, there have been three 'eruptive incidents" in the past 12 hours, the biggest around 6am this morning being equivalent to the biggest one of two weeks ago.

This morning ash was thrown to 7,500 meters above the mountain, and the seismic activity under the mountain was equivalent to an earthquake at 3.1 on the Richter scale.

Despite this activity, the Civil Defence alert is stil at level 3, and skiing is due to resume today on Whakapapa ski field IF the weather clears. (It's a murky day on the mountain, as you'll see if you peek at the volcano cam--all you can see is cloud and the trees which frame the shot.)

Raewyn Whyte -- -- 

Sep 25th, 2pm

Radio NZ reports there have been continuous eruptions since 11.30am.

And that all commercial flights out of the Hawkes Bay region have been suspended due to ash contamination in the air east of the mountain (that's all commuter airlines including Ansett and AIR NZ LINK flights.) The Tangiwai rail bridge has been closed as it is expected that lahar activity will reach it. Closing the Tangiwai Road bridge is also being considered.

Lahars are estimated at 8 metres wide and 5 metres deep.

Ohakune residents are reportedly polishing up their evacuation procedures.

From: Raewyn Whyte -- -- 

25th, 4pm

Radio NZ reports:

State Highway 1 (The Desert Road) is now closed because of hazardous driving conditions due to ashfall, and suspected imminent eruption conditions.

All people within 30kms have to block off their water tanks to avoid ash contamination. There is a general Civil Defence alert within 100km of the mountain.

Waiouru Army Camp families are evacuating.

More airspace has been closed off -- in a trinagle between Raetihi, Gisborne, to the South Wairarapa Coast -- up to 30,000 feet due to ash conditions. Wind direction is shifting.

White Island is also showing signs of magmatic activity.

There has been a 4,3 Richter Scale earthquake in Marlborough at a depth of 70 kms.

From: Raewyn Whyte -- -- 

25th, 5:45pm

National radio's CHECKPOINT programme has had an extensive series of interviews with geologists, civil defence personnel and so forth. They're all playing it down now (maybe to deter sightseers who seem to be treating it all as a show for their pleasure).

Eruptive activity has plateaued for the moment, but seismic activity is continuing, and that is apparently the most significant indicator of what's going on. The wind has shifted and a large ash cloud has just blown to the west, for the first time. As a result, the Ohakune-Taumaranui Road is about to be closed, but some air activity will resume down the east coast of NZ as the ash levels drop there.

Trains have ceased running between Auckland and Wellington due to ash blockages on the line.

With the Desert Road already closed there will be no traffic around to get in the way of emergency vehicles. The Waiouru Army base is on full alert, and army families have been evacuated so the soldiers can concentrate on their emergency duties if and when they are called on.

From: Raewyn Whyte -- --

Activity has plateaued, although ash fall and mud flows are continuing and level four alert is still in force. Waiouru army camp still on full alert, families of emergency staff have been evacuated so that the staff can remain focussed in the event of an emergency (the camp has not been completely evacuated).

Whakapapa village has not been evacuated but procedures have been rehearsed.

Scientists are comparing notes after spending the day collecting samples. There is no evidence at this time that the volcano will blow itself apart, however the activity is very similar to the 1945 eruption.

Some material has been ejected 1 to 2 Km from the crater, which is within the skifield area. Some rocks have been reported to be the size of cars.

Power surges have been experienced all over the North Island due to ash on lines. Fuel is running dry at Ohakune Eastern diversion of Tongariro river for Hydro electric power has been closed.

Highway 49 Waiouru and Ohakune reopened - State Highway 1 is still closed.

From: Derek Tearne -

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Naturally, there is a VolcanoCAM.

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The following pictures are from, and taken from their office. I'm mirroring them here to save traffic on the NZ link.