New Zealand volcano: Why did warning systems not go off before the White Island eruption?

However, two months before the eruption, New Zealand’s geological monitoring agency GoeNet warned of an increase in steam-driven activity on White Island.

On September 26, volcanologist Steve Sherburn reported “small-scale geyser-like eruptions” of mud and steam.

Some of the scorching jets reached heights of 32ft (10m) but the mini eruptions were not deemed unsafe to tourists.

The GeoNet activity bulletin also noted “they not pose any hazard to visitors to the island and are not a sign of increasing volcanic activity”.

Mr Sherburn said: “Recent measurements made on the island and the continuous data show no change in the monitored parameters outside of the expected signals for minor volcanic unrest.”

Then, just one week before the deadly eruption, GeoNet noted “moderate volcanic unrest” at White Island, suggesting the potential for an eruption.


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