The June 1886 Eruption of Mount Tarawera, North Island, New Zealand
Department of Geology and Geography
Denison University, Granville, Ohio 43023
Mount Tarawera is located in the Taupo Volcanic Zone on the North Island of New Zealand. Volcanic activity in the past 20,000 years has built massive rhyolite domes that were exposed in the most recent eruption on June 10, 1886, Tarawera's first and only basaltic eruption. During this eruption, a 17-km-long rift tore open the mountain to expose the rhyolite domes, thus forming a "window" into the mountain's geologic history. One hundred and fifty-three people were killed, many by pyroclastic fall, while most of the property damage was due to pyroclastic flow. Those who did survive offered compelling first-hand accounts of the tragic night.