Organisers of an adventure run on the slopes of Mt Ruapehu
are meeting volcanologists amid fears it could erupt in
Signs of increased volcanic activity since last week prompted
the central North Island mountain's Aviation Colour Code to
be raised from green to yellow to reflect signs of elevated
The Goat, a 21km run from Whakapapa to Turoa Ski Fields
across the western slopes of Mount Ruapehu is due to take
place on December 1.
Organisers today said the event was still planned to go
ahead, but they have met with volcano experts and would
continue to monitor the situation.
Changes in measurements at the volcano over the past few
weeks showed pressure was building and an eruption was more
likely over "the next weeks to months'', said GNS Science
volcanologist Steven Sherburn.
"It's pretty much status quo at the moment and we're waiting
on a good day to go up there and take some samples,'' said
volcanologist Nico Fournier.
In particular, experts were were for checking for increased
earthquake activity, and changes in crater lake levels or the
chemical composition of the lake, which were all potential
signs of increased volcanic activity, he said.
Last week the temperature a few hundred metres beneath crater
lake was about 800C, but the lake itself was only about 20C,
suggesting a vent was partly blocked, which may be leading to
a pressure build-up, Mr Sherburn said.
"A sudden release of the pressure may lead to an eruption.''
Experts are monitoring activity at the volcano.
Small earthquakes have been occurring about 5km beneath the
summit area of Ruapehu since late October, but these might
not be directly related to the high temperatures beneath
crater lake because they were much deeper, said GNS
The last eruption at Mt Ruapehu was in 2007.
A year earlier, an eruption also occurred and caused a small
earthquake near the crater.
- Herald Online staff/APNZ