North Crater, Tongariro

Accessibility: DIFFICULT
Explosion Crater within N. Crater, J.Thomson / GNS Science
A flat topped crater about 1 km across that contains a frozen lava lake.
North Crater Rim, J.Thomson / GNS Science
North Crater is a prominent feature in the Tongariro massif, with its very wide, flat topped cone. The flat surface of the crater floor is the remains of what was a lava lake. At this time fountains of molten lava covered the slopes of the cone with spatter. The impressive explosion crater within the larger area of North Crater was erupted after the lava lake cooled down. Pumice from the Taupo eruption can be found on the surface around this crater, showing that it is at least 1800 years old. At least some of the cone was formed during the last ice age. There is a second explosion crater to the south-east of the larger one, that is much less distinct, A shallow valley cutting across North Crater, just to the south of the explosion crater, is the washed out surface trace of a possible fault.
Explosion Crater within N. Crater, J.Thomson / GNS Science
North Crater is off the beaten track, to the side of the Tongariro Crossing track, and has a feeling of pristine isolation. It is a great place to explore. Have a look at the range of rocks that make up the outer rim, around the obvious explosion crater and on the main crater floor. See if you can find any Taupo pumice (from the Taupo eruption of about AD 200) that dates the surface near the explosion crater as being at least 1800 years old. Can you find the second, much less obvious explosion crater that also exists within North Crater?

Follow the Tongariro crossing track from either end (the Mangatepopo or Ketetahi car parks) and then hike across from Red Crater or near the blue lake / central crater area.

This is a pristine environment. Leave only footprints.

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Accessibility: DIFFICULT

The terrain is open and exposed, with steep slopes up the sides of North Crater

Volcanic Active Fault
Geological Age
The lava on the surface of the main crater is about 10,000 years old
Zealandia Evolution Sequence
Pākihi Supergoup: 5 million years ago – present