Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Your IP, Domain Name (if resolvable), the referring page (if any), QUERY, POST, User Agent, time of access, and date have been logged and flagged for admin review. Standing roughly in the centre of New Zealand’s North Island, Mt Ngauruhoe is New Zealand’s newest volcano and one of the most active (Figures 1 and 2).

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Blocks up to 30m (100 ft) across were catapulted up to 3km (almost 2 miles). Turbulent avalanches of ash and blocks swept down Ngauruhoe’s sides at about 60km (35 miles) per hour.

If any of these assumptions are violated, then the technique fails and any ‘dates’ are false.

The potassium-argon (K–Ar) dating method is often used to date volcanic rocks (and by extension, nearby fossils). Eleven samples were collected from five recent lava flows during field work in January 1996—two each from the 11 February 1949, 4 June 1954, and 14 July 1954 flows and from the 19 February 1975 avalanche deposits, and three from the 30 June 1954 flow (Figure 6).

The 18 August flow was more than 18 m (55 feet) thick and still warm almost a year after congealing.

Explosions of ash completed this long eruptive period. Cannon-like, highly explosive eruptions in January and March 1974 threw out large quantities of ash as a column into the atmosphere, and as avalanches flowing down the cone’s sides.

Blocks weighing up to 1,000 tonnes were hurled 100 m (330 feet).

However, the most violent explosions occurred on 19 February 1975, accompanied by what eye-witnesses described as atmospheric shock waves.

However, Mt Ngauruhoe is an imposing, almost perfect cone that rises more than 1,000 metres (3,300 feet) above the surrounding landscape to an elevation of 2,291 m (7,500 feet) above sea level (Figure 3).

Eruptions from a central 400 m (1,300 foot) wide crater have constructed the cone’s steep (33°) outer slopes.

Mt Ngauruhoe is thought to have been active for at least 2,500 years, with more than 70 eruptive periods since 1839, when European settlers first recorded a steam eruption.

These flows are still distinguishable today on the northwestern and western slopes of Ngauruhoe (Figure 4).