Geologists are warning hikers to stay off of Mount Ruapehu, the New Zealand volcano that stood in for Mount Doom in parts of Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. A variety of signs suggest that pressure is building beneath the volcano, and researchers are concerned that an eruption may be imminent. Still, even if Ruapehu does blow its top, it will probably be a fairly run of the mill explosion of fire from the bowels of the earth, with the number of uruk hai set to be loosed on an unsuspecting island nation expected to be minimal. So, hey — things could be worse!
Among the more telling suggestions that Ruapehu is due for a blow-up are rising temperatures in the ground surrounding the peak. While the temperature of nearby Crater Lake is just 20 degrees Celsius, ground temperatures a few hundred meters below the lake have risen up to 800 degrees Celsius. That indicates to experts that a vent is blocked, raising the temperature and pressure within the volcano.
That pressure is going to be released one way or the other, point out geologists, and at this point it’s just a matter of how big the eruption is and when it arrives. Another eruption for the very active Ruapehu, which is the largest active volcano in New Zealand, is not terribly surprising at this point — the peak has only been docile since 2007, and had major eruptions in 1995 and 1996.
(via Live Science)
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