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Thread: 2019 Dec 09 Whakaari (White Island) Eruption - New Zealand

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2001
    The Space Coast

    2019 Dec 09 Whakaari (White Island) Eruption - New Zealand

    The active volcano Whakaari (White Island) explosively erupted on December 9, 2019 with tourists around the crater and lake. Although signs of an impending eruption were increasing through the preceding weeks, tours of the island continued and 47 people were around the crater when the eruption occurred, killing perhaps 16 people (and with some missing and some with critical injuries). Updates are continuing.

    While the recovery operations continue, the live updates for the monitoring of the volcano have been suspended, but expect them at this link:

    Further information about Whakaari:

    The news reports are quite grim, and while it might be easy to criticize those that were on the island for making a poor choice, from what I've read there were no signs of an imminent eruption, so take that as you will.

    Last edited by CJSF; 2019-Dec-12 at 02:07 PM. Reason: minor grammar
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    Davy, Davy Crockett
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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Indeed, it had been quiet since the end of October, where there was one day with a significant number of quakes, but it had seemed to settle back down again afterwards- in fact I am not sure if this even counts as an actual eruption, there wasn't any recorded earthquakes recorded on the day???
    Maybe more of a volcanic 'burp' than an eruption?
    (condolences for those killed and injured, not making light of the situation in any way)

    (table from
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    Last edited by boppa; 2019-Dec-13 at 11:02 AM. Reason: add link for table
    R.I.P. Bad Astronomy

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Phreatic eruption - steam and gas causing explosion. The deaths and injuries were due to direct exposure to heat and inhalation of toxic gases .. just awful .. terrible consequences for all those involved and their families.

    Commercial interests seem to have been at play:
    Although privately owned, Whakaari/White Island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit the volcano every year.
    Whakaari/White Island
    It is New Zealand's most active cone volcano, and has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years
    Whakaari erupted continually from December 1975 until September 2000, marking the world's longest historic eruption episode, according to GeoNet, and also in 2012, 2016, and 2019.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2005

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by publiusr View Post
    Expert judgement this morning is that there is a 35-50% chance (medium likelihood) of an eruption occurring that could impact outside of the vent area within the next 24 hours. This has decreased somewhat compared to yesterday.
    'Expert judgement', eh?

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