New Zealand Volcanoes

New Zealand lies at the south-west end of a vast 40,000 km belt surrounding the Pacific Ocean, known as the Ring of Fire. The majority of Earth’s volcanic eruptions and earthquakes occur within this boundary and New Zealand is no exception.

The country is perched precariously at the ends of two plates with the Pacific plate being subducted below the Australian Plate. This process enables the rise of magma to the surface and is the making of many of New Zealand’s volcanoes.

Three main types of volcanoes exist including volcanic fields (Auckland being the best example), stratovolcanoes (Ruapehu and Taranaki) and caldera volcanoes (Taupo, being the most violent). Many of the country’s volcanoes are millions of years old and long extinct, however some are frequently active or remain dormant.


Auckland Volcanic Field

New Zealand’s largest city (and my home town), built upon an active volcanic field. 53 (and growing!) volcanoes make-up this area.

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Mount Ruapehu

Ruapehu is a stratovolcano and is the largest active volcano in New Zealand (2,797 m). It is located within the Tongariro National Park and is part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone.

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Mount Ngauruhoe

Mount Ngauruhoe, or Mount Doom is one the most active volcanoes in New Zealand. Part of the Tongariro volcanic complex, this stratovolcano rises to an elevation of 2,291m

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Mount Tongariro

Mount Tongariro is a stratovolcano and is part of the Tongariro volcanic complex. It is one of twelve different cones and rises to an elevation of 1,978 metres. The last ice age caused significant erosion to this cone and the surrounding area.

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Mount Taranaki (Egmont)

Mount Taranaki (or Mount Egmont) is a stratovolcano located in the North Island of New Zealand. It rises to 2,518 meters and last erupted approximately 150 years ago. A secondary cone (Fanthams Peak) is the result of a flank eruption.

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Okataina (Tarawera)

Located to the south of Rotorua, Mount Tarawera is the main vent of the Okataina volcanic complex. On the 10th of June 1886, Tarawera spectacularly erupted. The pink and white terraces were destroyed as a result of the eruption.

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White Island (Whakaari)

White Island is a 321m high stratovolcano located in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. It is known for its spectacular crater with sulphur deposits and strong hydrothermal activity.

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Mayor Island

Mayor Island (Tuhua) is a peralkaline rhyolite volcano located in the Bay of Plenty, New Zealand. It rises 355 meters high and last erupted between 500-1000 years ago.

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Raoul Island

Raoul Island, the largest and northernmost of the Kermadec Islands, represents an emergent peak of a large submarine stratovolcano. It is situated approximately 1000 km northeast of New Zealand’s North Island. Raoul Island lies along the Kermadec Arc, a convergent plate boundary where the Pacific Plate subducts beneath the Australian Plate. This subduction zone drives the volcanism that formed Raoul Island and the broader Kermadec Arc.

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