Globally Explosive - New Zealand’s World-Famous Volcanology

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Here at Aerius Helicopters we’re big on volcanos – and not just because of their explosive qualities. We live and breathe volcanic speak. Our country’s rich and diverse tectonic roots and eruptive activity not only provide us with clues about our ancestors and genealogy, but also position us high up on the global stage. We’re a volcanic nation through and through, here’s why:

Most Active and Exclusive

White Island is not only New Zealand’s most active volcano, scientists predict it has most probably been active since the arrival of our Maori ancestors between 1250–1300 AD. Today, White Island is one of the few privately owned volcanoes in the world. After a series of changing hands throughout the 1800s, White Island was purchased by stockbroker Raymond Buttle in 1936. Today, the Buttle Family Trust owns the island.

Most Explosive

New Zealand can lay claim to the world’s largest known eruption in the past 70,000 years. Taupo’s Oruanui eruption occurred approximately 26,500 years ago, depositing over 1000 kilometres of volcano materials – much of central North Island was 200 metres deep in ignimbrite. Ash fall affected the entire country, even spreading as far as the Chatham Islands which are located 1000 kilometres away from the eruption zone.

Most Damaging

The Land of Milk and Honey – as New Zealand is fondly known – was once home to the eighth wonder of the world – Lake Rotomahana’s famous Pink and White terraces. Mount Tarawera’s eruption on June 10th 1886 spread 16,000 kilometres of ash and debris, destroying the terraces and three villages. The stunning terraces had formed naturally over 500 years from bubbling silica rich water flowing down hillsides, which cooled and crystallised at the base forming giant staircases. Local people would bath in the lower levels of the terrace-like basins where the water temperature was lukewarm. Recent scientific analysis and study has concluded that the terraces – or what remains of them – are most likely buried somewhere in the middle of the lake and not on land.

Most Productive

The Taupo Volcanic Zone isn’t just famous for its ginormous eruption of old, today it holds the title of the world’s most productive region of silicic – or igneous rich rock – volcanic activity. Stretching all the way from Mount Ruapehu through Ngauruhoe, Tongariro, Lake Taupo, through Whakamaru, through the Rotorua volcanic complex and 85 kilometres beyond White Island, the TVZ is approximately 350 kilometres long and 50 kilometres in width.

If you're interested in experiencing the natural beauty of White Island, check out our White Island flight and flight and tours.

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