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Lake Taupō volcanic unrest increases

Updated: Sep 20, 2022

Lake Taupō currently has an ongoing earthquake swarm within the volcano's caldera. This morning at 6:36am a M4.2 earthquake rattled the region and was the largest in a sequence of 600+ earthquakes since April 2022. The current activity is in the same location as the 2019 swarm, that was found to be linked to new magma being fed into a molten reservoir, triggering the 2019 earthquake sequence.

GeoNet did an update on this ongoing swarm on 24 August which has left the alert level at 0. Ongoing ground deformation is accompanying the seismically active region.

Over the last 140 years, there has been 17 episodes of recorded unrest around the volcano caldera, an average of every 9 years. The most intense episode of unrest occurred in 1922, when earthquakes continued for 10 months, some being damaging for the town. Other notable periods of unrest were 1897, 1964-65 and 1983-84. Longer term, the Taupō super volcano has a long history of eruptions stretching back 300,000 years with 26 eruptions during this period. The last eruption around 1,800 years ago is recognised as the largest eruption on earth over the last 5,000 years, which covered all of NZ with at least 1cm of ash. GeoNet monitors the area 24/7 with 7 seismographs, 6 GPS stations.

Image: Google Earth of Lake Taupō with the GNS overlay of the last 6 month's earthquakes in the area.

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