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Lake Taupo
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Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo is a lake situated on the North Island of New Zealand. It has a perimeter of approximately 193 kilometres, a deepest point of 186 metres and a surface area of 616 square kilometres. It is the largest lake by surface area in the country. It is drained by the Waikato River.


The town of Taupo is situated on the north-eastern shore of the lake.

Lake Formation

The lake lies in a caldera created following a huge volcanic eruption (see supervolcanos) approximately 26,500 years ago. According to geological records, the volcano has erupted 28 times in the last 27,000 years. The first eruption, known as the Oruanui eruption, ejected an estimated 800 cubic kilometres of material and caused several hundred square kilometres of surrounding land to collapse and form the caldera.

The most recent eruption, which occurred in 181AD, is believed to have ejected 100 cubic kilometres of material, of which 30 cubic kilometres was ejected in the space of a few minutes. It is believed that the eruption column was 50 kilometres high, twice as high as the eruption column from Mount St. Helens in 1980. This makes it the most violent eruption in the last 5000 years. It was sufficiently large enough, due to the ash-expulsion, to turn the skies red over Rome and China, and went down as a matter of historical record. This eruption further expanded the lake. The volcano is considered to be dormant rather than extinct. It lies in the Taupo Volcanic Zone.


The residents of Taupo in the 1970's commissioned some rock carvings in various places on the lake to help boost the tourism industry.

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