Frost flats are low–lying plains found on the Volcanic Plateau of the North Island at a relatively high elevation of between 400 and 800 m a.s.l. Frost flats are also known as old tephra plains and they were created after large volumes of pumice were deposited during volcanic activity that created the volcanic plateau. Alluvial processes washed pumice down from nearby hills an infilled the basis to form plains. Because of their altitude cold air often ponds on frost flats resulting in frosts that can occur year round. The vegetation type is largely dominated by monoao (Dracophyllum subulatum). There is also a scrub vegetation type found in the frosty alluvial terraces and plains of the South Island that are sometimes referred to as frost flats but Landcare Research advises that they should not be confused with these volcanic, old tephra plain frost flats.
For more information see*:
- Management of frost flat communities under threat from mouse-ear hawkweed invasion by Mark Smale and Patrick Whaley (DOC 1999)
- Old tephra plains (frost flats) (Landcare research)
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