Climbers warned to stay away as Lord Of The Rings volcano lake heats up

Climbers and hikers have been warned to stay away from a volcano in New Zealand which featured in The Lord of The Rings movies. Monitors have noticed an increase in volcanic gas and a rise in temperature of its lake from 25C (77F) to 46C (115F). As a result, the volcanic alert level for Mount Ruapehu, which was used as the hellish volcanic wasteland of Mordor in the film trilogy, has been raised from “moderate” to “heightened unrest”.

The increase in gas output, the high lake temperature and continued seismicity suggest that Ruapehu is at a higher level of volcanic unrest

Volcanologist Geoff Kilgour

The volcano, situated in the North Island’s Tongariro National Park, has at its centre Crater Lake. Trekkers have been told to stay out of the Summit Hazard Zone, which is within 2km of the vast water pool. Temperatures are now the highest since the lake reformed in 2000. However, residents living nearest the volcano have been told there is little danger of being swamped by lava in he event of an eruption.

One of the biggest eruptions, in 1995, only a few blots got past the 3km or 4km mark and that was really rare. Being away from the volcano is very safe and even the standard places you can go. Different story if you go and climb the thing and you’re camping at the crater lake or something.

Volcanologist Brad Scott