NZ's 'Mount Doom' set to erupt - hobbits told to stay away
Ruapehu, used to depict Mordor hell hole in the Lord of the Rings films, could be about to blow
GEOLOGISTS have warned that Ruapehu, the New Zealand volcano that stands in for Mount Doom in the Lord of the Rings films, could be about to blow.
The New Zealand Department of Conservation has warned climbers and hikers to stay outside the Summit Hazard Zone, 2km from Mount Ruapehu's 2,797 metre-high crater lake.
DOC volcanic risk manager Harry Keys told Radio New Zealand: "The current situation can't continue. Ruapehu is so active that the temperatures have been going up and down a lot.
"They generally haven't gone up as we've expected for some weeks now and sooner or later that situation will be rectified, either in a small, relatively passive way, or with a significant eruption."
Keys said this was more likely to happen in weeks rather than months. "Whether that event is a small one like we had in, say, July 2009, or a large one that happened in September 2007 or something else, that's still impossible to tell at this stage."
Film director Peter Jackson used Mount Ruapehu (above left) and the neighbouring Mount Ngauruhoe to depict Mount Doom in The Lord of the Rings movies, notes The Australian.
In J.R.R. Tolkien's celebrated trilogy, Mount Doom is where the evil sorcerer Sauron forged the all-powerful One Ring. The hobbit Frodo Baggins has to journey to Mordor to destroy the ring by casting it into the constantly erupting Mount Doom (above right), also known as Orodruin or Amon Amarth.
Ruapehu, which is situated in the Central Plateau of North Island, is not quite as active as its fantasy namesake, but it is potentially deadly. The 2007 eruption sent a lahar - a fast-moving and potentially deadly stream of volcanic debris - down its slopes. Nobody was injured.
Mount Tongariro, which lies to the north of Ruapehu, erupted in August this year. The 6,100 metre high ash plume disrupted domestic air travel.