White Island eruption was difficult to anticipate: report

  • Wednesday 11, December 2019 09:15 AM
Sharjah 24 - Reuters: The sudden eruption of New Zealand's White Island volcano has left 5 people dead and injured dozens of others.
According to the University of Otago, White Island straddles the Australian and Pacific tectonic plates.

Magma is created beneath the island when the Pacific plate pushes against the Australian plate and sinks beneath it.

The Guardian reports that White Island magma is shallow and heats groundwater to form pockets of extremely hot steam. This causes high pressure in surrounding rocks.

The expansion of water into steam can be supersonic and its energy can shatter the rockbed, resulting in a steam-driven eruption, also known as hydrothermal eruption.

The Guardian reports that White Island's steam-driven eruption blasted hot volcanic rocks, ash and coarse particles that can inflict impact trauma, burns and respiratory injuries.
Authorities fear as many as 13 people could be dead.

The Guardian reports that steam-driven eruptions can happen quickly and without warning because their triggers are not well understood.