A gigavolcano may erupt, alert level has been raised – its latest eruption was the largest in the last 5,000 years

When the Taupo volcano in New Zealand last erupted, nearly 1,800 years ago, it released 100 cubic kilometers of material into the atmosphere.

It was the largest volcanic eruption in the past five thousand years.

Specialists from the geological agency Geonet have now raised the level of preparedness for volcanic eruptions from zero to one. They cautioned that there are a total of six levels of alert, but that a rush can occur in any of them. The Sky News article says volcanic activity can change very dynamically.

According to Geonet, this is the first time the readiness level has to be raised for Taupo,

However, volcanic activity has been detected in the past and the chance of a Taupo eruption is still generally low.

When this happened around 200 CE, volcanic ash and debris wreaked havoc on the northern part of the island before humans populated it.

According to experts, earthquakes can still occur in this region for several months: New Zealand is located on the border of the Pacific Ocean and the Australian tectonic plates, and therefore is prone to large volcanic events and earthquakes.

In 2019, the White Island volcano known as Whakaari unexpectedly erupted, releasing steam and ash. The portal added that 22 people were killed at that time and 25 others were seriously injured, most of them tourists.

Cover image source: Getty Images

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