[Photo] Tongariro Crossing, aka Mt. Doom

Mount Ngauruhoe is a 7,500-foot parasitic stratovolcano located in the Tongariro Alpine Crossing of New Zealand. It's ominous profile is added to by the fact that its digitally-altered form was featured in the Lord of the Rings Trilogy as Modor's Mt. Doom. (Ryan Miller / EPOD of NASA's Earth Science Division)

Mount Ngauruhoe is a 7,500-foot stratovolcano located in the Tongariro Alpine Crossing of New Zealand. This naturally ominous profile is enhanced by the mountains featured role in the Lord of the Rings films as Mordor’s Mt. Doom. (Ryan Miller / EPOD of NASA’s Earth Science Division)

Tongariro Alpine Crossing is located in Tongariro National Park – New Zealand’s oldest national park and a dual cultural and natural World Heritage site. It has been heralded as one of the best one-day treks in New Zealand – or even the world.

Among the features of the crossing are three volcanoes: Ngauruhoe, Tongariro, and Ruapehu. The Ngauruhoe volcano is more than just an imposing silhouette; it was digitally-altered for its appearance in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, with the National Park itself serving as a backdrop. Mt. Ngauruhoe is a stratovolcano, named for of their layered (or stratified) appearance. While stratovolcanoes can be picturesque, they are also deadly; most stratovolcanoes have a highly explosive history of Plinian eruptions, which are “associated with deadly pyroclastic flows composed of hot volcanic fragments and toxic gases that advance down slopes at hurricane-force speeds.” Two infamous stratovolcanoes are Krakatoa and Vesiuvius – both associated with catastrophic eruptions.

Sounds like Sauron might have found a home on Earth.

For more information, visit the entry on EPOD’s website or the Tongariro Alpine Crossing website, or watch their  their Lord of the Rings featurette.

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