Ruapehu and Tongariro by LW

There are three types of volcanoes in New Zealand, Volcanic Fields, Cone Volcanoes and Caldera Volcanoes.

Volcanic Fields

In volcanic fields, small eruptions occur over a wide geographic area and are spaced over long periods of time (i.e. thousands of years). Each eruption builds a single new volcano, which does not erupt again. Mounts Eden and Wellington are examples from the Auckland Volcanic Field.


NHR 11 Map of NZ volcanic fields p01 v02
Map of NZ volcanic fields

Cone Volcanoes

Cone volcanoes (also called composite cones or stratovolcanoes) are characterised by a succession of small-moderate eruptions from one location. The products from the successive eruptions over thousands of years build the cones. New Zealand cone volcanoes include volcanoes like Ruapehu, Taranaki/Egmont and Ngauruhoe. They are the most frequently active type.


Mount Ruapehu eruption 24 September 1995
Mount Ruapehu with Ngauruhoe in the distance.

Caldera Volcanoes

Caldera volcanoes have a history of infrequent but moderate-to-large eruptions. Caldera-forming eruptions create super craters 10-25 km in diameter and deposit cubic kilometres of ash and pumice. Resurgent caldera activity is usually smaller than the caldera forming eruptions. There are 8 caldera volcanoes in the central portion of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, between Rotorua and Taupo. This area is known as Te Ahi Tupua.

Aerial view of Lake Taupo from the north with volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park in the distance. Taupo township at left.
Aerial view of Lake Taupō from the north with volcanoes of the Tongariro National Park in the distance. Taupō township at left.
NHR 12 Three Types of volcano P02 V01

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