GeoNet, which monitors geological hazards in New Zealand, said the volcano alert went up from 1 to 2, moderate to heightened volcanic unrest. The aviation color code was also changed from green to yellow.
GeoNet stated there is a possibility for eruption.
Ruapehu Update: Volcanic Alert Level raised from 1 to 2. Heightened levels in gas outputs show increased unrest https://t.co/yE5hvD8EJF
— GeoNet (@geonet) May 11, 2016
The GeoNet scale goes up to Level 5, which indicates a major volcanic eruption.
Scientists visited the volcano and confirmed an increase in the output of volcanic gas at the site. The temperature at Mount Ruapehu’s Crater Lake, which is one of only three in the world that is surrounded by ice and snow, has been rising since last month from 25 degrees Celsius to 46 degrees Celsius (77 degrees Fahrenheit to 115 degrees Fahrenheit). Over the past few days it has ranged between 45 and 46 degrees Celsius.
Mount Ruapehu is the largest active volcano in New Zealand and is located at the southern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone, according to the nation’s GNS Science. Major eruptions at Mount Ruapehu have been 50 years apart, in 1895, 1945 and 1995. The last time the volcano erupted was in 2007.
See some raw footage of the volcanoes past eruptions below:
The volcano is located in the Tongariro National Park and has two ski fields. The area was part of a landscape in the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy directed by Peter Jackson. “The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey” and “The Hobbit: There and Back Again” also had scenes filmed at the park.