Temperature drops at Ruapehu crater lake:

Good news indeed! Let’s hope is stays that way!

Mount Ruapehu’s crater lake continues to cool after it peaked at 41degC in March, GNS Science says.

The temperature of the lake had now fallen to around 30degC and other monitored indicators showed less activity.

GNS Science said its aviation colour code alert had been lowered to green from yellow, the lowest code.

The lake was entering a cooling phase but GNS scientists would continue to monitor the active volcano. Mt Ruapehu last erupted in 2007.

Meanwhile, Mt Ruapehu will soon be one of a handful of volcanoes worldwide watched around the clock by a “radar eye” aimed at saving lives.

A new high-speed Doppler radar system will mean volcanologists from Massey University and the University of Hamburg in Germany will be able to record every explosive burst from the active volcano.

It is the first monitoring system of its kind in the country and one of only a few in the world.

The instrument has a 1.2m diameter radar dish that focuses its narrow beam precisely over the crater lake.

The experimental radar would be an important addition to the existing range of warning instruments installed at Mt Ruapehu, Volcanic Risk Solutions director Shane Cronin said.

“Once this instrument is calibrated, it can be used for the regular monitoring and warning activities carried out by the Department of Conservation, GeoNet and GNS Science.”

The radar should directly detect the volcanic particles thrown out of the crater lake, often at several hundred metres per second.

Vulcanologist Gert Lube said the radar penetrated through darkness, clouds and mist and could give reliable and rapid eruption warnings even the summit could not be seen.



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