Mt Ruapehu New Zealand
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Mt. Ruapehu, New Zealand

April 22, 2004
All around the world, people live in places where the threat of natural disaster is high. On the North Island of New Zealand, the Mount Ruapehu volcano is just such a threat. A towering, active stratovolcano (the classic cone-shaped volcano), snow-capped Ruapehu Volcano is pictured in this enhanced-color image. The image is made from topography data collected by the Shuttle Radar Topography Mission aboard the Space Shuttle Endeavour. Ruapehu is one of New Zealand's most active volcanoes, with ten eruptions since 1861. The eruptions aren't the only threat from the volcano, however. Among the most serious threats is a volcanic mudflow called a lahar. In between eruptions, a lake forms in the volcano's caldera from melting snow. In this scene, the lake is nestled among the ridges at the top of the volcano.

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