A Chronology of the 1945 eruption of Ruapehu volcano, New Zealand

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Johnston, D.M. 1997 A Chronology of the 1945 eruption of Ruapehu volcano, New Zealand. Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences. Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences science report 97/02 50 p.

Abstract: The 1945 eruption of Mount Ruapehu was, until 1995, the largest eruption this century in the central North Island. Previous accounts by Reed (1945), Oliver (1945), Cotton (1945, 1946), Beck (1950) and Gregg (1960) have focused on the volcanology of the eruption. The eruptive episode lasted from March to December and involved the growth of a lava dome which entirely displaced the crater lake. A series of explosive eruptions eventually removed the dome and during the course of the emption, ash was dispersed over most of the North Island. Ash fell as far afield as Upper Hutt and Whakatane. The Hawke's Bay region was coated by numerous ash falls between August and December. The ash caused a nuisance in affected communities, resulting in eye and throat irritations, entering and soiling interiors of houses and damaging paint work on cars. Crop damage was reported around Ohakune, Taumarunui's water supply was disrupted and the hospital at the Chateau was forced to close due to frequent loss of water and electricity supply. This report presents a daily summary of observations of the 1945 eruption. It has been compiled from a number of sources (newspapers, published articles, letters, telegrams) and attempts to bring together an otherwise dispersed record of the eruption. Newspaper articles provided a wealth of information, but doubt about the accuracy and validity of some of the reports presents problems for the collation of the information. There are many examples where different dates are assigned to the same ''apparent'' event. The larger newspapers (i.e. New Zealand Herald, The Dominion) frequently reprinted (at a later date) stories first printed in local papers, without altering the text. Where articles contain terms such as '' yesterday'', the date of an event is often inferred to have occurred later than it actually did. There remains a rich record in the oral history of local residents who witnessed the eruption. Unfortunately, as details of the dates of events are rarely remembered, little of this information is presented in this report. (auth)