World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Rangipo Desert

Article Id: WHEBN0001248995
Reproduction Date:

Title: Rangipo Desert  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Tolkien tourism, Mount Ngauruhoe, Tongariro National Park, List of deserts, Volcanic plateau
Collection: Deserts of New Zealand, Ruapehu District
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Publication
Date:
 

Rangipo Desert

Rangipo Desert is a barren desert-like environment in New Zealand, located in the Ruapehu District on the North Island Volcanic Plateau; to the east of the three active peaks of Mount Tongariro, Mount Ngauruhoe, and Mount Ruapehu, and to the west of the Kaimanawa Range.

Location of the Rangipo Desert

The Rangipo Desert receives 1,500–2,500 mm (59–98 in) of rainfall per year, but resembles a desert because of a poor soil quality and drying winds,[1] and also due to the mass sterilization of seeds during a series of violent eruptions, particularly ignimbrite flows about 20,000 years ago. The vegetation is low and sparse, consisting of mainly tussock and snow grasses. The headwaters of many small streams, which later turn into large rivers, gouge deep serrated valleys through the unconsolidated ash and pumice-rich earth. The climate here is harsh and alpine, with close to 270 ground frosts per year in comparison with less than 30 in the coastal regions of Hawke's Bay, 80 km (50 mi) to the east. Heavy snowfalls - rarely seen in the rest of the island - are also a common occurrence in winter. Trampers and climbers in the area should be mindful of the extreme chill effect of the cold south wind which can produce wind chill factors lowering the temperature below zero for days on end.

Much of the desert lies at an altitude of over 600 m (2,000 ft), and a considerable proportion of it is over 1,000 m (3,300 ft) above sea level.

Typical Rangipo scenery, looking west from the Desert Road

Due to the unproductive nature of the land and the extreme winter climate, the region is largely uninhabited. The town of Waiouru, with its army camp, lies to the south and much of the southern part of the desert is used for training purposes. To the north of the desert lies the Rangipo prison farm.

Many of the North Island's largest rivers have their headwaters in the area, particularly around the slopes of Mount Ruapehu, the North Island's highest mountain. These include the Waikato and Whangaehu Rivers, as well as major tributaries of the Rangitikei and Whanganui Rivers.

The desert is bisected by only one sealed road, a section of State Highway 1 known as the Desert Road. The road is closed for short periods most winters with barriers arms due to severe snow storms and icy road conditions. Turangi emergency services monitor the northern part of the Desert Road and the NZ army at Waiouru is responsible for the southern end.

The Lord of the Rings films were shot in New Zealand, and the Black Gate of Mordor scenes were shot in the Rangipo Desert in 2000.

View of the Rangipo Desert showing the three active peaks: Snow-capped Ruapehu (left), conical Ngauruhoe (centre) and broad-domed Tongariro (right)

References

  1. ^ "Beyond the Desert Road", nzgeographic.co.nz, Issue 36 (Oct-Dec 1997). Retrieved 28 January 2013.

External links

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.
 



Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from World eBook Library are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.