Sometimes I just have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. How lucky am I to live on planet earth? Air to breathe, soil on which to stand, crumble through my fingers and grow food, water to sustain life, a sun that delivers just the right amount of energy. How luckier still to live on one of the planet’s most dynamic islands – volcanoes, glaciers, geysers, hot springs.
Mt Ruapehu is one of my favourite parts of New Zealand which I visit often and it was an obvious place to set my debut novel. After gaining a Batchelor of Science in Earth Science through Massey University I decided to combine my love of geology with my love of reading by writing a novel using the mountain as the backdrop.
Fire in the Mountain is set on Mt Ruapehu which is an active stratovolcano, 250,000 years old and situated at the south west end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone where the earth is in a constant state of flux due to tectonic plate subduction processes. The mountain is presently on alert level one which indicates some signs of unrest. The mountain has more recently displayed good eruptions twice in the 1970s then in 1995 and 1996. A significant but very small eruption occurred 18 March 2007 triggering the lahar of the same day which subsequently stole the limelight. Six months later on 25 September 2007 an explosive eruption lasted only seven minutes during which ash, rocks and water spread across the summit areas.
You can visit Mt Ruapehu yourself via the webcam on http://www.geonet.org.nz. Photos of the mountain are posted daily. I’m not a great photo taker so there won’t be any on my blog, more’s the pity.