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Old 19th September 2022, 11:07 PM   #1
arthwollipot
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Taupō Volcano

New Zealand raises volcano alert level for Lake Taupo after 700 small earthquakes are detected

Quote:
New Zealand scientists have increased the alert level for a volcano below the country's biggest lake, which caused the largest eruption on Earth in the past 5,000 years when it last exploded about 1,800 years ago.

In a statement, geological agency GeoNet said it had detected almost 700 small earthquakes below Lake Taupo, the caldera created by the giant volcano, and had raised the volcanic alert level to 1 — minor volcanic unrest — from 0.

The volcanic alert system is based on six escalating levels, but GeoNet notes that eruptions may occur at any level, and levels may not move in sequence as activity can change rapidly.

The Taupo volcano spewed more than 100 cubic kilometres of material into the atmosphere when it last erupted around 200 BC, devastating a large area of New Zealand's central North Island in a period before human habitation.
I saw a video on YouTube about this the other day. The last time this one erupted, it was absolutely gargantuan. If it erupts again, it could be an extremely serious threat to human life.

Ah, here it is:

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Old 20th September 2022, 12:41 AM   #2
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot
New Zealand raises volcano alert level for Lake Taupo after 700 small earthquakes are detected

Quote:
New Zealand scientists have increased the alert level for a volcano below the country's biggest lake, which caused the largest eruption on Earth in the past 5,000 years when it last exploded about 1,800 years ago.

In a statement, geological agency GeoNet said it had detected almost 700 small earthquakes below Lake Taupo, the caldera created by the giant volcano, and had raised the volcanic alert level to 1 — minor volcanic unrest — from 0.

The volcanic alert system is based on six escalating levels, but GeoNet notes that eruptions may occur at any level, and levels may not move in sequence as activity can change rapidly.

The Taupo volcano spewed more than 100 cubic kilometres of material into the atmosphere when it last erupted around 200 BC, devastating a large area of New Zealand's central North Island in a period before human habitation.
I saw a video on YouTube about this the other day. The last time this one erupted, it was absolutely gargantuan. If it erupts again, it could be an extremely serious threat to human life.
They aren't very sure of the dates are they?
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Old 20th September 2022, 01:45 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by Guybrush Threepwood View Post
They aren't very sure of the dates are they?
Should be CE, not BC:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Taup%C...C5%8D_eruption

And even still, that is an estimate. No humans apparently lived there at the time.
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Old 20th September 2022, 02:47 AM   #4
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Originally Posted by arthwollipot View Post
If it erupts again, it could be an extremely serious threat to human life.
There's a slight understatement!

If it erupted without warning, you'd be looking at 50,000 dead almost immediately, with another 50k in deep trouble.

First time it's even made it out of level 0. Interesting point is that Ruapehu, an active volcano only 50 km from Taupo, had been at level 2 until 2 months ago.

https://www.doc.govt.nz/parks-and-re...national-park/

Plenty of action going on under that region.
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Old 20th September 2022, 04:16 AM   #5
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Sounds like it could either be nothing at all or the first rumblings of something very important.

I seems like this event is “due” in a sense. Maybe even overdue. But it could still be millennia away. When it does happen, if there is any warning at all, it will probably be a series of earthquakes. This is magma moving deep underground. Maybe because pressure is building up or maybe for other reasons. But certainly something to keep an eye on very closely.
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Old 20th September 2022, 07:05 PM   #6
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I've been to Lake Taupo, during a school band tour of the North Island in the 80s. It was absolutely beautiful. The water was the clearest I've ever seen.
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Old 20th September 2022, 10:09 PM   #7
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Lake Taupo is a wonderful body of water. What's intriguing is to reflect that it used to be Mount Taupo.

And it will be again.
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Old 21st September 2022, 12:37 PM   #8
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Sounds like it could either be nothing at all or the first rumblings of something very important.
The group of caldera includes White Island.

They'd raised the alert level there to 2 a couple of days before it exploded and broiled a load of tourists, so if they raise the alert on Taupo to 2 I'll be getting my cameras ready.

Aussies don't call us the Shaky Isles for nothing.

Along with the central caldera, we have our largest city built on an active volcanic field, and the capital on the major South Pacific fault. Looks to me like our end of the tectonic plate doesn't want you lot to have all the news.
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Old 21st September 2022, 03:19 PM   #9
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Nice discussion in Science for a change..
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Old 21st September 2022, 03:28 PM   #10
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I've thought about this before, but I thought about it again reading this thread. I'm wondering, has there ever been any research or efforts into a controled "venting" of a volcano to prevent a violent eruption?
Would such a thing even be possible?
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Old 21st September 2022, 04:34 PM   #11
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Dig a tunnel/shaft, getting hotter and hotter, until you die from the pressurised magma that bursts through?

If you don't mind, I think I'll sit this one out.
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Old 21st September 2022, 04:42 PM   #12
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I've thought about this before, but I thought about it again reading this thread. I'm wondering, has there ever been any research or efforts into a controled "venting" of a volcano to prevent a violent eruption?
Would such a thing even be possible?
It's an interesting idea. Maybe it's even possible. But I imagine that it would be both risky and expensive to try. It would be safest when the volcano is dormant, but then people, being shortsighted and having a near-term bias might think it's not the best way we could use taxpayer money.
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Old 21st September 2022, 06:18 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I've thought about this before, but I thought about it again reading this thread. I'm wondering, has there ever been any research or efforts into a controled "venting" of a volcano to prevent a violent eruption?
I'm certain there hasn't, but there was a de facto research in Rotorua, 40 km north of Taupo. Rotorua is much like Jellystone, with lots of active geysers and vents.

The town had enormous uptake of people sinking geothermal bores for heating, and in the 1980s, the thermal areas started to die off. The city stopped allowing new bores and paid people to close them and the thermal areas became active to pre-bore levels.

Whether you could achieve the same with a gigantic caldera like Taupo is moot, but maybe we should start laying down a heap more geothermal power stations around the lake.
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Old 23rd September 2022, 04:54 AM   #14
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Originally Posted by Mike! View Post
I've thought about this before, but I thought about it again reading this thread. I'm wondering, has there ever been any research or efforts into a controled "venting" of a volcano to prevent a violent eruption?
Would such a thing even be possible?
Originally Posted by novaphile View Post
Dig a tunnel/shaft, getting hotter and hotter, until you die from the pressurised magma that bursts through?

If you don't mind, I think I'll sit this one out.
Not a tunnel, but drill a hole, like drilling for oil. Then when the lava bursts to the surface it can then go along a prepared course. The main reason this probably will not work is that it will not allow enough lava to come to the surface.
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Old 24th September 2022, 12:06 AM   #15
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Good news:

Lake Taupō volcano rumbles as alert level raised 'not unusual' - seismologist

Quote:
The volcano has been exhibiting minor unrest activity since about May and seismologists have also recorded ground deformation, which means the ground under Taupō is inflating.

"The raise in the alert level yesterday just reflects our improved understanding of Taupō and also our improved monitoring so we're able to get more information in real time from Taupō.
Quote:
The volcano appears to have this level of "restless" behaviour about once a decade, Illsley-Kemp said.
No, she's not going to blow - Taupō volcano fears allayed

Quote:
Taupō volcano is a "long way" from any potential eruption, according to GNS Science volcanologist Steven Sherburn.
Quote:
Dispelling potential fears that the volcano was overdue for an eruption, Sherburn said experts "don't see anything happening at the moment that suggests an eruption will occur".

"Volcanoes are not buses or trains – they don't run on a timetable.

"Typically someone will calculate the median return period for activity – but it's just an average and doesn't make something overdue.”
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Old 28th September 2022, 06:38 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by Puppycow View Post
Happy days! So, the scariest thing in that area is still the Napier-Taupo highway! Forget bungee jumping, if you really want to wet your keks, drive down there in the logging season!
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Old 29th September 2022, 01:49 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by jonesdave116 View Post
Happy days! So, the scariest thing in that area is still the Napier-Taupo highway! Forget bungee jumping, if you really want to wet your keks, drive down there in the logging season!
Never mind the highway, have you ever driven Gentle Annie Road?

Spectacular, but terrifying.
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Old 1st October 2022, 11:07 AM   #18
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Originally Posted by The Atheist View Post
Never mind the highway, have you ever driven Gentle Annie Road?

Spectacular, but terrifying.
Sadly not. Never got up to Waiouru. Had my honeymoon in Napier, many moons ago. Took in Hastings, and then a couple of nights back in Taupo, before heading back to Auckland.

Was all set to honeymoon down in the South Island, but the bloody ferries went on strike!
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