(ORDO NEWS) — New Zealand scientists have raised the alarm level for a volcano under the country’s largest lake that caused the largest eruption on Earth in 5,000 years when it last erupted about 1,800 years ago.
In a statement, geoscience agency GeoNet said it had recorded almost 700 small earthquakes under Lake Taupo, a caldera formed by a giant volcano, and raised the volcanic alert level from 0 to 1 – a minor volcanic disturbance.
The volcanic alert system is based on six ascending levels, but GeoNet notes that eruptions can occur at any level, and the levels may not move in sequence as activity can change rapidly.
The Taupo volcano erupted more than 100 cubic kilometers of material into the atmosphere during its last eruption around 200 BC, destroying much of New Zealand’s central North Island.
GeoNet reports that this eruption was the largest on the planet in the last 5,000 years.
Earthquakes “may continue.”
The agency added that while it had raised the alert level for the Taupo volcano to 1 for the first time, this was not the first time activity had occurred and said the likelihood of an eruption remained very low.
“Earthquakes and deformation may continue over the coming weeks or months,” the report said.
New Zealand sits on the boundary between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates and experiences significant volcanism and earthquakes.
In 2019, the Isle of Wight, known as Wakaari, experienced a sudden volcanic eruption spewing steam and ash, killing 22 people and seriously injuring 25 others, mostly tourists.
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