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This volcanotectonic depression (Taupo-Rotorua depression6) comprises four rhyolitic centers (Rotorua, Okataina, Maroa, and Taupo), plus the calc-alkaline Tongariro Volcanic Center, part of a young ( Fig. The shaded area is the andesite arc, and the inset shows the major components of the boundary between the Australian and Pacific Plates in the New Zealand region (arrows indicate relative motions).Solid triangles are basalt-andesite volcanoes.15 11 North-northeast-trending normal faults with throws up to 30 m cut the volcanoes within the graben.Activity decreased for two months after the last of the lava flows on September 26, but increased again during December 1954 and January 1955 with lava fountaining and many highly explosive pyroclastic (ash) eruptions.The last ash explosion was reported on March 10, 1955, but red-hot lava remained in the crater until June 1955.4647 After the 1954–1955 eruption, Ngauruhoe steamed semi-continuously, with numerous small eruptions of ash derived from comminuted vent debris.The zone extends approximately 300 km north-northeast across the North Island from Ohakune to White Island (fig.1) and is up to 50 km wide in the central part, narrowing northward and southward. Ngauruhoe in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ), New Zealand, showing the main structural features.Nearly all vents active within the last 10 ka lie on a gentle arc which extends 25 km north-northeast from the Rangataua vent on the southern slopes of Ruapehu through Ruapehu summit and north flank vents, Tama Lakes, Ngauruhoe, Red Crater, Blue Lake, and Te Mari craters.None of the young vents lie on the mapped faults, which mostly downthrow toward the axis of the graben.

The Ngauruhoe area was accessed from State Highway 47 via Mangateopopo Road. Care was taken to ensure correct identification of each lava flow and that the samples collected were representative of each flow and any variations in textures and phenocrysts in the lavas.

Numerous pyroclastic avalanches were also generated by fallback from the continuous eruption column, the avalanches consisting of a turbulent mixture of ash, bombs, and larger blocks which rolled swiftly down Ngauruhoe’s sides at about 60 km per hour.6566 The deposits from these avalanches and the later explosions accumulated as sheets of debris in the valley at the base of the cone, but did not extend beyond 2 km from the summit. A plume of steam or gas is still often seen above the summit of the volcano, as powerful fumaroles in the bottom of the crater discharge hot gases.

It is estimated that a minimum bulk volume of 3.4 million m of pyroclastic material was erupted in the seven-hour eruption sequence on that day.51 Fig. However, the temperature of these fumaroles in the crater floor has steadily cooled significantly since 1979, suggesting that the main vent is becoming blocked.

Incandescent ejecta were seen in January 1973, and ash erupted in December 1973 contained juvenile glassy andesite shards.53 Cannon-like, highly explosive eruptions in January and March 1974, the largest since 1954–1955, threw out large quantities of ash and incandescent blocks, one of which was reported as weighing 3000 tonnes and thrown 100 m.5461 Ash and blocks up to 30 m across were ejected and scattered within a radius of 3 km from the summit.

The series of nine cannon-like, individual eruptions followed a 1.5 hour period of voluminous gas-streaming emission, which formed a convecting eruption plume between 11 km and 13 km high.6264 The explosions took place at 20–60 minute intervals for more than five hours.

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