Mt Ruapehu eruption anniversary

Scientists and emergency managers will meet at Whakapapa Village this weekend to mark the eruption of Mt Ruapehu 10 years ago.

About 70 people have registered for the event which has been billed as an opportunity to discuss the lessons learned from the eruptions .

The series of spectacular eruptions, the biggest in New Zealand for 50 years, captured world attention.

An eruption in June 1995 marked the start sporadic volcanic activity that continued until a dramatic eruption on September 23.

It produced an eruption plume 12km high, threw rocks 1.5km from the crater and generated lahars down three river valleys. Even bigger eruptions followed in October 1995 and in June and July of 1996, with ash falling up to 300km from the mountain.

Ash in snow-melt entered the Tongariro River and caused $22 million-worth of damage to hydro-electric turbines at the Rangipo Power Station.

Organisers of the anniversary aim to ensure that New Zealand is better prepared for future volcanic eruptions.

- NZPA

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