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    Uncovering our explosive past - a look at some of the historical aspects of volcanoes in New Zealand.

    10 million BC - Mt Cargill erupts

    Mt Cargill near Dunedin erupts, forming the Organ Pipes.

    6 million BC - Banks Peninsula formed

    Banks Peninsula in Canterbury is formed through volcanic eruptions.

    3 million BC - Little Barrier Island formed

    Little Barrier Island in the Hauraki Gulf north of Auckland is formed through volcanic eruptions.

    2.3 million BC - Whāngārei volcanic field active

    The Whāngārei volcanic field produces scoria cone volcanoes, similar to those found in Auckland. This field is now extinct.

    2 million BC - Mt Horrible erupts

    Mt Horrible erupts, forming the Timaru harbour.

    240,000 BC - Double trouble eruptions

    Rotorua and Ōhakuri erupt within days of each other.

    150,000 BC - First eruptions in Auckland

    First eruptions in the Auckland volcanic field at Pukekawa, now the Auckland Domain.

    140,000 BC - Lake Pupuke formed

    Lake Pupuke is formed and trees are fossilised on Takapuna beach.

    133,000 BC - Mt Taranaki erupts

    Mt Taranaki, an andesite volcano in the central North Island, begins to erupt.

    18,000 BC - Mt Smart formed

    Mt Smart is formed, and Onepoto Basin is formed in a separate eruption.

    15,000 BC - One Tree Hill formed

    One Tree Hill, an iconic landmark of Auckland, is formed through volcanic activity.

    500 BC - Mt Ngāuruhoe first begins to erupt

    A vent of Mt Tongariro becomes active and forms the neighbouring Mt Ngāuruhoe.

    200 AD - Taupō erupts

    Taupō erupts forming Lake Taupō – the world’s most powerful eruption in 5,000 years.

    1000 AD - Mayor Island formed

    A volcano in the Bay of Plenty erupts, forming Mayor Island, also known as Tūhua Island.

    1314 - Mt Tarawera erupts

    This eruption covers the region with a layer of ash.

    1400 - Rangitoto erupts

    This eruption forms Rangitoto Island.

    1870 - Ngāuruhoe erupts again

    Ngāuruhoe erupts on 7 July 1870. It first formed about 2,500 years ago.

    1886 - Mt Tarawera erupts

    Mt Tarawera erupts, destroying the Pink and White Terraces.

    Find out more about the on-going search to rediscover the Pink and White Terraces.

    1896 - Mt Tongariro erupts

    Mt Tongariro in the central North Island erupts.

    1915 - Continental drift theory

    Alfred Wegener proposes model of continental drift.

    1954 - Mt Ngāuruhoe erupts

    Mt Ngauruhoe in the central North Island continues to erupt and deposit lava.

    1960s - Theory of plate tectonics developed

    Many strands of evidence are tied together into the encompassing theory of plate tectonics.

    1974 - Mt Ngāuruhoe erupts

    Mt Ngauruhoe continues to erupt with an estimated 45 eruptions in the 20th century.

    1995–1996 - Mt Ruapehu erupts

    Spectacular eruptions are widely documented in the media.

    2001 - White Island erupts

    White Island remains active and routinely produces gas clouds.

    2007 - Lahar on Mt Ruapehu

    A lahar (mudflow or landslide) on Mt Ruapehu is a result of the 1996 eruptions.

      Published 9 April 2010 Referencing Hub articles