Disasters & Accidents

New Zealand raises Taupo volcano’s alert level

Sydney, Australia, Sep 20 (EFE).- New Zealand’s geological agency raised the alert level for the Taupo volcano on Tuesday after detecting some 700 earthquakes below its crater lake.

“The volcanic alert level for Taupo volcano is raised to volcanic alert level 1 (minor volcanic unrest),” GeoNet said in a statement.

The country’s alert level system is based on 6 levels.

The agency added that although volcanic activity had been observed, “the chance of an eruption at Taupo remains very low.”

“The minor volcanic unrest is causing the ongoing earthquakes and ground deformation at Taupo volcano,” GeoNet said, adding that this activity could continue for the “coming weeks of months.”

According to the agency, these earthquakes, occurring at depths of between 4 to 13 kilometers (2.5 to 8 miles), could lead to landslides and liquefaction, a phenomenon in which the strength of soil is reduced, most commonly as a result of the ground shaking during a major earthquake.

Several towns are located on the shores of the lake, about 380 kilometers north of Wellington, including Taupo, which has about 26,000 inhabitants.

Volcanic activity at Taupo has been recorded 17 times over the past 150 years although none of them resulted in an eruption, GeoNet said.

The volcano last erupted round 200 BC when it spewed about 120 cubic kilometers of volcanic material into the atmosphere, the largest eruption on Earth in the last 5,000 years, according to GeoNet.

New Zealand records intense seismic and volcanic activity as it sits on the boundary between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates.

In December 2019, 22 people died and 25 others were seriously injured after the Whakaari volcano, also known as White Island, erupted while 47 tourists and workers were on the island. EFE


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