Scientists from New Zealand have raised the alert level for a large volcano, which is responsible for the Earth’s most powerful eruptions in the last 5,000 years.
GeoNet, a geophysical agency, reported that it had detected nearly 700 earthquakes beneath Lake Taupo. This caldera was created by Taupo Volcano, New Zealand’s largest lake.
In a statement, it stated that the volcanic alert level had been raised to 1 from 0.
Geonet points out that although the volcanic alert system is based upon six levels of escalating unrest, eruptions can occur at any level. However, levels cannot move in a sequential order as activity can rapidly change.
The Taupo volcano erupted around 1,800 years ago. It emitted more than 100 cubic kilometers of material into the atmosphere. This was around 200 BCE.
In a time before humans existed, the eruption decimated a large part of New Zealand’s central North Island.
Geonet claims that the eruption was the most powerful on Earth in the last 5,000 years.
Although it stated that this was the first time the agency had raised the Taupo Volcano Alert Level to 1, the agency also noted that there have been previous unrests and that the likelihood of an eruption is still very low.
Earthquakes “could continue”
It stated that “the earthquakes and deformation could keep going for the next weeks or months.”
New Zealand is located on the border of the Pacific and Australian plates. It experiences significant volcanism as well as earthquakes.
White Island, also known as Whakaari in 2019, suddenly erupted, spewing steam and ash. It killed 22 people and severely injured 25, mostly tourists.