Probing the Deep: Drilling into Rangitoto Volcano

It is something of a geologist’s dream come true: the opportunity to drill into a volcano!

The Rangitoto drilling idea has been bandied about since nearly the beginning of DEVORA in 2008. As I explained in a previous post, Rangitoto is a huge problem when trying to figure out what’s next in Auckland’s volcanic future. Drilling will hopefully answer a lot of our questions and allow us to plan.

Rangitoto

Rangitoto Volcano from North Head, Auckland. Photo by Elaine Smid.

Currently we are at ~90 m and drilling fast. So far a lot of thin lava layers have been found, indicating that Rangitoto has been a busy little bee! That in itself does not tell us much about how long eruptions were or how long the volcano has been active, however. We still have to date the rocks as best we can, and do some chemistry to compare to the ash layers found in Lake Pupuke to see if any match. If we are able to do that, we can start to pull together that timeline and unravel the mystery that is Rangitoto.

Coming up after the break…

I’ll be going out to Rangitoto this week to help out a bit and check out the action for myself. Stay tuned for updates!

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