Sunday, March 25, 2012

New Zealand

I haven't posted much here in March because things have been ultra busy with the start of a new semester in late February and over the last ten days I've been in New Zealand. I went to attend the second lead author meeting of Working Group 3 for our work on the 5th Assessment Report (LAM2 WG3 AR5 in IPCC-speak). I also spent a few days travelling around the North Island with Shuang - this photo was taken on the lower slopes of Mount Ruapehu in Tongariro National Park. We got as far as Taupo and then headed back to Wellington. Around Lake Taupo there is plenty of geothermal activity. We visited some hot springs at Tokaanu:

and bathed in the baths there. There was steam rising from the water on the shore of Lake Taupo next to where we stayed too. One day the city of Taupo and much of the central North Island will probably be destroyed in a volcanic eruption. Lake Taupo is the caldera of the world's most destructive volcano. The caldera was formed in a massive eruption around 26,000 years ago. The last major eruption happened in 181 AD when around 30 cubic kilometres of material was erupted in about 20 minutes from vents just off the southeastern shore of the Lake. It is really hard to imagine such an eruption. Large areas of the North Island are covered in thick ash deposits (ignimbrite) from these and other eruptions. Discounting of the future means that human activity goes on all around and on the supervolcano...

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