Breaking Earth News: New Zealand
Volcanic Lahar(mudflow) Alert
Photo: Mount Ruapehu Crater Lake is pictured in this March 22, 2004 handout photograph. (Graham Hancox, Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, New Zealand/Handout/Reuters)
Jan 29, 2007
WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A crater lake on a New Zealand volcano used as a backdrop in the "Lord of the Rings" films is on the verge of collapsing and could send a torrent of muddy water down the mountain in coming weeks, media reported on Monday.
Melting snow on Mount Ruapehu has filled the lake to within 1.5 metres (5 feet) of its lip, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper.
The 2,797-meter (9,177-feet) volcano is the highest mountain in the North Island and home to two commercial ski fields.
Scientists say a lahar, or mudflow composed of volcanic material and water, is inevitable as warm summer weather causes the snow to melt and fill the lake.
"It is still expected the earliest the dam might start collapsing to create a lahar down the Whangaehu River is February/March," the Herald quoted a Department of Conservation official as saying.
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