Volcano White Island in New Zealand

Volcanoes in New Zealand

With 6 volcanoes in New Zealand there have been a total of 13 significant eruptions over the past 1,800 years. Over 400 people were killed. The worst volcanic eruption in terms of deaths, destroyed houses and financial damages happened on 12/24/1953 with the eruption of "Ruapehu". Here, 151 people died.

All nine volcanoes in New Zealand are still considered as active. Additionally there is one active submarine volcano off the coast.

Other natural hazards in New Zealand:
Current volcanoes worldwide

Back to overview: New Zealand

New Zealand is located on the Pacific Ring of Fire, which stretches for about 40,000 km around the Pacific Ocean. Here the tectonic plate of the Pacific collides with several surrounding continental plates and seismic tremors occur again and again. Most of the world's volcanic eruptions, which are also the most severe, occur in this zone.

Significant volcanic eruptions in New Zealand in the last 1800 years

Volcano White Island in New ZealandThe following list shows all volcanic eruptions of the last 1,800 years with significant damage. The column "VEI" stands for the volcano explosivity index, which represents the strength of the eruption from a geological point of view. This takes into account the height and volume of the rocks ejected. The scale ranges from 0-8, with the severity of the eruption increasing tenfold with each value. For example, a VEI of 1 means that the volcano throws lava and rock masses of 100,000 to 1 million cubic meters up to 1 kilometer high. From VEI 8, a volcano is considered a super volcano. Here, more than 1,000 cubic kilometers of tephra are thrown to altitudes of more than 25 kilometers.

The highest explosivity index in New Zealand reached in the review period was VEI 6 in 0230. The volcano Taupo threw tephramasses of at least 10 cubic kilometers over 25 kilometers high. Such an intensity is normally only achieved every 100 years.

EruptionVolcanoVEIDeathsTotal damage
12/09/2019Whakaari/white Island222
03/17/2006Raoul Island01
09/10/1914White Island011

All volcanoes in New Zealand

VolcanoElevationStatusLast eruption
Curtis Island137 mActive
Mount Egmont2518 mActive
Ngauruhoe2291 mActive
Raoul Island543 mActive03/17/2006
Ruapehu2796 mActive12/24/1953
Tarawera1111 mActive
Tongariro1978 mActive
Whakaari/white Island294 mActive12/09/2019
White Island321 mActive09/10/1914

These statistics are based on datas from the Smithsonian Institution's Global Volcanism Program (GVP), and the Significant Volcanic Eruptions Database of the National Geophysical Data Center (NOAA) / World Data Service (NGDC/WDS) doi:10.7289/V5JW8BSH. Several data have been summarized and translated.
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