Light the warning beacons of Gondor, the fires in the heart of Mount Doom have been rekindled… sort of.
While it’s a little less dangerous than the Dark Lord Sauron returning to enslave us all, New Zealand officials are warning Lord of the Rings fans, and nature lovers, to avoid the volcano that doubled as Mount Doom in the popular fantasy films.
According to Reuters, the volcano, Mount Raupehu, has had its volcanic alert increased to ‘heightened unrest’.
The mountain, which is in the North Island’s Tongariro National Park, was used by Peter Jackson as Mount Doom because of its desolate volcanic rock formations, which perfectly captured the bleak Mordor landscape.
New Zealand’s Department of Conservation is warning any curious hobbits to stay away from the area known as the Summit Hazard Zone, which is over a mile from the centre of Crater Lake.
Time reports that the water temperatures in the lake have risen three degrees Celsius since mid-April, prompting the warning.
The volcano last erupted in 2007, injuring a 22-year old teacher and causing earthquakes in the area, but it has remained active ever since with several warnings being made in the last decade.
Interestingly, while Mount Raupehu was used for close up scenes of the iconic mountain, all the distance shots were of another New Zealand volcano, Mount Ngauruhoe.
However, they couldn’t film on the summit of Ngauruhoe itself because the mountain is sacred to the Māori in that region.
Hopefully, the activity will die down in a few weeks, unless this recent activity is the stirrings of Sauron forging a new ring to rule us all…