News for Feb. 10, 2007

Mount Ruapehu mudflow imminent

2/10/07, 10:18 pm EST - Xoanon

WELLINGTON (Reuters) - A crater lake on a New Zealand volcano used as a backdrop in the "Lord of the Rings" films is on the verge of collapsing and could send a torrent of muddy water down the mountain in coming weeks. Melting snow on Mount Ruapehu has filled the lake to within 1.5 metres (5 feet) of its lip, according to the New Zealand Herald newspaper. The 2,797-meter (9,177-feet) volcano is the highest mountain in the North Island and home to two commercial ski fields. Scientists say a lahar, or mudflow composed of volcanic material and water, is inevitable as warm summer weather causes the snow to melt and fill the lake. [More]