back to article 'Mount Doom' rumbling ominously

Mount Ruapehu, the mountain in New Zealand used as a location for many of the Mordor scenes in the three Lord of The Rings films, is rumbling ominously. New Zealand's Department of Conservation has issued a warning to folks contemplating a trip to the mountain not to go, as “recent measurements at Ruapehu indicates the …


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  1. Winkypop Silver badge

    Dangerous or not

    That part of the world is spectacularly beautiful.

    Do yourself a favour, go and visit.

    <-- Mine's the hiking jacket with the luxury B&B guidebook in it.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Dangerous or not

      Scientists will no longer commit themselves to whether the volcano will blow or not, not since those Italian scientists were found guilty for not predicting an earthquake.

      1. Nigel 11

        Re: Dangerous or not (prediction)

        Volcanoes are much easier to forecast than earthquakes, because they do give considerable advance warning. Predicting how bad it'll be this time after it starts errupting is harder, but anyone sensible will give themselves a large safety margin rather than waiting around nearby to find out!

        The trouble with an earthquake is that very often, the big shock arrives "out of the blue". Everyone knows it'll happen somewhere on a known fault line some time in the next fifty or five hundred years, but nobody knows how to predict it a week or a month ahead with sufficient reliability to request an evacuation.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      A long way to go

      Not very pleasant, cheap or comfortable (or 'green' either) to spend a whole day in a lousy aircraft.

      I find that a lot of people live fairly close to spectacularly beautiful scenery that they don't even bother to find out about, prefering to jet thousands of miles instead! :)

      I 'staycation' these days. I find that other parts of the world won't let me go and live there, as I'm probably too old and unqualified to be 'any use' to them. In that case they can go whistle, I'm not giving them my tourism money.

      1. Arrrggghh-otron

        Re: A long way to go

        You can find lots of scenery in and around the UK that is very similar to NZ. But it is only bits here and there, scattered to the four corners of the UK. The scenery in NZ is astonishing in variety and scale and the frequency at which it changes (when driving around).

        It is indeed a long way to go, but personal comfort and green issues aside, it is well worth the effort.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: A long way to go

          You are right about parts of the UK looking a bit like parts of NZ. I was a bit surprised how similar Cornwall is to bits of the North Island when I visited earlier this year. However the thing that really struck me was how old and eroded the UK looks. Probably a result of being occupied by humans for so long as much as anything.

  2. frank ly

    Theories about why this is happening

    I'm looking forward to reading them over the next 24 hours.

    1. jai

      Re: Theories about why this is happening

      Well, it's almost only a month to go until the end of the Mayan calendar....

      Got to expect some ill portents to start portending about now.

    2. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Theories about why this is happening

      It's the opening of the seal to hell.

      Satan is being released because he likes you, Jesus is coming back because he wants to kill you.

      We are doomed, as the Tweedle Dum and Tweedle Dee of Celestial Mechanical Morals, arise and return.

      Humanity vs. the Eternity Twins.

      Pfffffft! - Round One!

    3. Muscleguy Silver badge

      Re: Theories about why this is happening

      The article on says that the temperature deep under the crater lake is rising (up from 600C to 800C) but the temp of the crater lake is still cool. They thus suspect that sulphur compounds have formed a clay like plug preventing deep heat release. So they quite reasonably, given history, fear a build up of pressure that will cause an eruption and when hot magma meats a large quantity of water it goes explosive.

      Last time Ruapehu went boom it shut down flights for weeks. We are going to NZ end of the month and need to travel from Auckland to Dunedin in the far south, so this news is unwelcome. We can always hire a car (if one can be found cheaply enough) and drive south via a wide swing around the other large volcano (Taranaki/Egmont) on the west coast of the North Island. The other routes south go pretty much east and west of the volcanoes, too close for comfort. On a fine day the smoking cones are an interesting sight from the Desert Road though and interesting terrain to traverse. A friend and I adventure ran N-S aged 17 in '83, before the traverse was formally set out. The variety of terrain is amazing: native forest leading to alpine tundra, with hot pools and sulphurous fumaroles. Then rocky and rather moon like around Ngaruahoe before more lush forest around Ruapehu with river gorges to keep things interesting.

      1. Nigel 13

        Re: Theories about why this is happening

        "The variety of terrain is amazing: native forest leading to alpine tundra, with hot pools and sulphurous fumaroles. Then rocky and rather moon like around Ngaruahoe before more lush forest around Ruapehu with river gorges to keep things interesting."

        You sell it very well.

        1. croc
          Paris Hilton

          Re: Theories about why this is happening

          And, he saw all that beautiful scenery while running... On unmarked trails... In foliage so dense in spots that even on marked trails, if one leaves the trail for more than a meter one can get very lost. Hope his trip goes well, just also hope that he doesn't repeat that story to the locals.

          <------- Paris, because she's gullible. In fact, she's been on Gullible's Travels. Just ask her.

          1. Muscleguy Silver badge

            Re: Theories about why this is happening

            "And, he saw all that beautiful scenery while running... On unmarked trails... In foliage so dense in spots"

            Um at a particular height on both Tongariro and Ruapehu the bush simply ceases. Above which is tussocky alpine tundra with very clear sight lines. After exiting the bushline we were above the treeline for the majority of the run. On the return (back to the car) we took the lowland route which was very open, at least back in '83. The only forest was pinus radiata plantations and we steered clear of those.

            You may run with your head down wheezing heavily, I run upright and can do so while looking about me. Gosh multitasking and I'm not even female.

        2. Muscleguy Silver badge

          Re: Theories about why this is happening

          "You sell it very well."

          Thanks. Ketetahi springs on the north slope of Tongariro is just amazing. It's as though a giant came along and slashed the slope with a knife several times and it's bleeding hot water, steam and sulphur. Then turn 180 and you are looking out across to Lake Taupo to the north, the biggest caldera in NZ (with hot water beaches). We paused for breath at that point to marvel. Hard work starting a run uphill with a pack on.

          I still have that pack, wooden internal X frame, big waist strap and chest strap. Comfortable to run in. These days with so much stuff more lightweight* you could do it in my smaller daypack.

          *No wicking, wind resistant running clothing in '83. We had cotton t-shirts and showerproof nylon cagoules (non breathable). It was cold going around near the top of Tongariro so we wore cotton socks on our hands for that bit.

      2. EvilGav 1
        Thumb Up

        Re: Theories about why this is happening

        I was trying to find the name of the car company that I used, which was super cheap (compared to the major ones like Avis and Hertz), basically it's meant for backpackers, so it's all older cars with high mileage (but clean and run well) for about 1/10 the price - I think I paid NZ$300 for 10 days.

        Remember to hire car from Auckland to Wellington, walk on passenger on the ferry and then from Picton to Dunedin. The price for travelling on both North and South islands in the same car goes up dramatically.

        And yes, I would encourage anyone to visit NZ, I spent 3 weeks there in 2009 and it was spectacular. Will go back when I have the money, time etc again!!

        1. Alan Brown Silver badge

          Re: Theories about why this is happening

          Cheasp rentals:

          Probably rent-a-wreck or rent-a-dent

          there are a couple of other el-cheapo rental outfits too.

        2. Raphael

          Re: Theories about why this is happening

          Jucy Rentals? Wicked Campers?

          They're pretty cheap.

      3. Raphael

        Re: Theories about why this is happening

        Meh, we took the kids down to Whakapapa Ski Field (on Raupehu) this winter a week after Tongariro erupted earlier this year. Apart from a bit of ash on the one road, and signs saying "no stopping due to volcanic activity" it was fine.

        Of course the folk out Nelson way dealing with heavier ash raining down on their gardens didn't agree.

        But that eruption was a small short one.

    4. Snake Plissken

      Re: Theories about why this is happening

      Publicity stunt for the movie.

  3. TeeCee Gold badge


    The presence of a large car park at Ruapehu saw it used as the location for scenes involving massed orcs going into battle

    That's odd, I'd always assumed that those bastards walked everywhere. I'll bet they're all bloody Audi drivers too.

    1. Sorry, "Sorry that handle is already taken" is already taken.

      Re: Orcmobiles.

      No, that's trolls.

      Orcs drive BMWs. ;-)

  4. Shane 4

    The real reason,NOT!

    Come on now, We all know Peter Jackson has set off some dynamite to get it rumbling for Prince Charles visit to see The Hobbit movie set!

  5. Silverburn
    Thumb Up

    Kiwi approach to H&S

    Other eruptions have closed the ski field on the mountain, after ash covered the snow and made skiing impossible

    They cancelled the skiing because skiing in ash is hard.

    Nothing to do with being consumed by lava, avalanches, asphixiation from escaping CO2 or being crushed by flying red-hot rocks, no....

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Ruapehu letting off steam in 1996:

  7. NomNomNom

    just a thought but why don't they get off their butts and go and check what's happening there instead of just reporting it's rumbling?? If the rumors are true and evil is once more stirring in the east then this is just like the run up to world war 2. I really hope the scientists aren't just looking at the mountain with satellites. If armies and forges are concealed within the mountain itself they will not be spotted, nor will satellites be able to spot a tower with a burning eye. A famous wise man once said something along the lines of learn from the history channel or else it repeats itself.

    1. Muscleguy Silver badge

      It's worse than that, all the giant eagles in NZ are extinct. Haast's eagle, the biggest eagle ever to live on this planet.

      Though they do have wizards who are able to measure the temperature of the magma chamber within the mountain AND the crater lake. They call them scientists though. All together now:

      A wizard's staff has a knob on the end, knob on the end . . .

  8. Michael H.F. Wilkinson Silver badge

    Did the warning read:

    Cautioussss, my precioussss! Musssstn't risssssk our neckssess, musssst we?

    Mine is the one with the three volume edition in the pocket

  9. Petrea Mitchell

    Romans? Not likely...

    "On a 2008 visit, your correspondent was informed by locals that a later eruption, said to have taken place around 200 AD, altered global weather patterns to such an extent Roman literature noted an unusually cold period."

    That's actually Krakatau (Krakatoa) and circa AD 500. No volcanic cloud produced that far south of the equator is going to trouble Europe.

    And it's actually Taupō that blew up in AD 200; see here:

    1. Raphael

      Re: Romans? Not likely...

      No, the Romans probably did record the Hatepe Eruption of Taupo in 186AD

      "The Taupo eruption was at one time dated to approximately 130 AD based on 14C from carbonized vegetation enclosed in the eruption products. However, the 22 selected samples used to obtain an average date of 1,819 ± 17 years BP (131) had much larger standard deviations than the average date itself.[3] Most if not all geologists now accept that the tephra or pumice fall from the eruption was far greater than previously thought, approximately 150 km3 (36 cu mi) instead of 14 km3 (3.4 cu mi). This means the event would have been visible from China and Rome. It was therefore posited by Wilson et al. (and is now generally accepted) that the meteorological phenomena described by Fan Ye in China and by Herodian in Rome[6] were due to this eruption, which therefore can be dated exactly to 186 AD.[7] However, recent radiocarbon dating by R. Sparks has put the date at 233 AD ± 13 (95% confidence).[8][9]"

  10. ixion

    Typical Kiwi fashion?

    I'm puzzled. "In typical Kiwi fashion" , use GPS to keep clear of danger zone. What is "typical Kiwi fashion" about that ?

    Pesky nuisance these eruptions, every time one happens it closes the Desert Road and the alternate route is several hours longer. A few years ago I rode over the road just before they closed it, part of the way in a mixed sandstorm, snowstorm and ash-mud storm. Messiest riding ever.

    (The reason they close the ski fields is the ash absorbs sun heat and melts the underlying snow , which leaves dangerous concealed holes. Don't want people skying into those)

  11. ixion

    Now Tongariro , the next door volcano has erupted. What a nuisance, it'll be months before they calm down .

  12. Muscleguy Silver badge

    'Wrong' Volcano Burps

    Meanwhile Tongariro, the volcano at the north end of the group has burped overnight UK time causing tourists and schoolchildren to scarper sharpish and the Tongariro crossing to be closed. It's only a burp though.

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