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Climbers and trampers have been told to avoid Mt Ruapehu's summit zone after scientists warned the mountain could erupt without warning.
Measurements taken on the volcano over the past few weeks indicated eruptions were more likely "within weeks, not months".
GNS Science believed the temperature a few hundred metres beneath the crater was about 800 degrees Celsius but the lake itself was only 20degC. This suggests the vent is partly blocked which may be leading to a pressure build-up beneath Crater Lake