Did you know the world's most recent super-eruption created Lake Taupō 25,500 years ago? And did you know that the world's biggest eruption in the last 5,000 years also happened right here in New Zealand? It's no surprise that this volcano is part of 'The Central Taupō Volcanic Zone'; a supervolcano complex stretching from Lake Taupō to Mt Tarawera - and we're off to explore the Lake Taupō part! But don't worry, there's only a very small chance of another eruption any time soon.

You probably think of Taupō as a lake rather than a volcano. That's because 25,500 years ago the supervolcano erupted from a massive pancake of magma about 5 km below the ground surface. When most of the magma had been erupted (more than 500 cubic kilometres!) the ground overhead couldn't be supported anymore and collapsed - leaving a massive depression in the middle of the North Island. The depression slowly filled with water, becoming Lake Taupō.

During this LEARNZ field trip you will join geologists who are trying to understand how our supervolcano works and what we need to do to prepare for an eruption. 

To prepare for this field trip, LEARNZ content will support inquiry into:

  • natural hazards - earthquakes, tsunami, volcanoes, and landslides
  • the tectonic plates of New Zealand
  • the natural hazards of New Zealand
  • volcanic eruptions - magma, pyroclastic density currents (massive super-fast hot ash clouds), ash, lava flows
  • preparing for natural hazards
  • responses to natural hazards
  • reducing volcanic hazards

During this field trip you will:

  • follow tweets from Shelley, the LEARNZ field trip teacher
  • get to know scientists studying our supervolcano
  • learn about Māori perspectives on and connections to the volcano
  • visit Te Papa's new exhibition on supervolcanoes
  • find out about GeoNet, a partnership between EQC and GNS Science
  • see how GeoNet uses smart technology to monitor earthquakes and much more
  • follow the history of volcanic eruptions by looking at ash deposits
  • drive through the central North Island exploring the volcanic landscape
  • see how volcanic activity at Taupō might impact you
  • find out more about volcanic ash as a hazard
  • get to know what emergency managers do
  • appreciate the benefits of volcanoes eg. geothermal power

Learning Areas/Levels

Science: Planet Earth and Beyond Levels 2-8, Nature of Science Levels 2-8, Earth and Space Science Levels 7-8; 
Social Sciences: Geography Levels 6-8; 
Social Studies: Place and Environment Levels 2-5

For more information about the field trip and to register, please visit: http://rata.learnz.org.nz/summary.php?vft=naturalhazards193

Related content

Read more about the Taupō Volcanic Zone and how recent research has changed scientists ideas on dating volcanic eruptions.

For more resources, check out the Hubs topic on Volcanoes and concept on Tectonic plates.


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