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Mt Ruapehu’s Crater Lake has been heating again. Since early December 2014 the temperature has risen from 15 °C and has now reached temperatures over 40 °C. Similar temperatures were reached in March 2011 and April 2014, before the lake cooled.
Data from a recent Crater Lake sampling (14 January) has shown there are several changes in the lake chemistry. In particular we see evidence for increased amounts of volcanic gas discharging through the lake. The increase in the lake temperature and gas discharge is probably indicative of renewed heating of the hydrothermal system under the lake. Observations from recent visits and pilot reports confirm some convection is present in the lake. The lake has changed from a blue/green colour to light grey as a consequence.
Due to a huge increase in earthquakes in recent years, the Corporation Commission began using a “traffic light” system in December 2013.
Under the system, wells within a six-mile radius of a magnitude-4.0 earthquake are placed under operating restrictions. If additional earthquakes occur within six miles of an active well in that area, the commission can order the operator to halt injection while more information is gathered.