Between this and the ‘Taupo Eruption’ (1800 years ago) there were at least 26 much smaller eruptions which formed lava domes and spread pumice and ash over nearby areas.
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The researchers deduced that carbon dioxide that was several thousands of years old was seeping from a magma chamber below the volcano into the groundwater, eventually making its way into the vegetation above ground.
They estimated that the ancient gas had made the trees near the volcano appear between 40 and 200 years older.
Now, a team that included researchers from the University of Melbourne has re-analysed the radiocarbon records for the Taupo eruption, gathered from ring patterns of trees killed by the blast.