Mount Ruapehu in New Zealand

Passing over New Zealand’s North Island, an astronaut aboard the International Space Station (ISS) snapped a photo of Mount Ruapehu, providing a nadir (straight down) view of the mountain and Tongariro National Park. Ruapehu is an active stratovolcano that rises to 2,797 meters (9,177 ft) at its highest point. It is the highest mountain in the North Island.

Near the summit is Crater Lake (Te Wai ā-moe), which is heated by a hydrothermal system inside the volcano. The lake remains warm all year round (15 to 45 degrees Celsius) and is very acidic (pH

After a dormant period dating back to 2011, volcanic unrest was reported at Ruapehu in 2022. Moderate shaking began in March and led volcanologists to issue an alert for increased volcanic activity. They took periodic measurements of lake temperature and sulfur dioxide emission samples to monitor changes. The water temperature peaked at around 40 degrees Celsius in May 2022, but cooled to 24 degrees Celsius in the following months. In July, temperatures and emissions dropped enough to lower the Volcanic Alert Level.

During the period of unrest, a magmatic intrusion was detected under the volcano. The intrusion suggested that magma was slowly rising below the volcano but had stopped. As a result of rising magma, scientists have suggested that the likelihood of an eruption may have increased in the Crater Lake Basin.

Photograph of astronaut ISS065-E-415587 was acquired on September 23, 2021 with a Nikon D5 digital camera using a focal length of 1150 millimeters. It is provided by the ISS Crew Earth Observation Facility and the Earth Science and Remote Sensing Unit at Johnson Space Center. Image was taken by an Expedition 65 crew member. Image has been cropped and enhanced to improve contrast, and lens artifacts have been removed. The International Space Station program supports the lab as part of the ISS National Laboratory to help astronauts capture images of Earth that will be of the greatest value to scientists and the public, and to render those images freely available on the Internet. Additional images taken by astronauts and cosmonauts can be viewed on the NASA/JSC Gateway to Earth Astronaut Photography. Caption by Cadan Cummings, Jacobs, JETS contract at NASA-JSC.

Comments are closed.