2019 Whakaari / White Island eruption

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White Island 9 December 2019 eruption.jpg

The volcanic island Whakaari, also called White Island, explosively erupted in New Zealand's northeastern Bay of Plenty region on 9 December 2019 at 2:11 pm NZDT.[1] There were 47 people on or near the island at the time. The amount of people killed is currently 22, including 2 people that went missing and are believed to be dead. 25 people were injured, many critically.[2][3]

Events[change | change source]

White Island is a popular tourist attraction. In the days leading up to the eruption, the volcano on White Island became more unstable, causing an earthquake at one point.[4] Although the volcano's alert level increased, tours of White Island continued.[5]

When the volcano erupted, it sent rock, volcanic ash, and super-hot gas 3.7 kilometres (12,000 feet) into the air. This hot gas burned the people on the island, causing deaths and injuries.[6] The type of eruption was a phreatic eruption, where water heated by magma turns into steam and causes an explosion.[7]

After the eruption[change | change source]

WorkSafe New Zealand, New Zealand's primary workplace safety organization, launched an investigation into the disaster alongside New Zealand police.[8] WorkSafe New Zealand later charged 3 people (the owners of White Island) and 10 organizations.[9]

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said that "the scale of this tragedy is devastating".[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 "Live: White Island erupting: Plumes of smoke, reports of multiple injuries in Bay of Plenty". New Zealand Herald. 9 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  2. "Live: Whakaari / White Island eruption - day 2". Radio New Zealand. 2019-12-10. Retrieved 2019-12-09.
  3. "Live updates: 'Further survivors unlikely' after White Island eruption, police say". TVNZ. Archived from the original on 2019-12-09. Retrieved 2019-12-09.
  4. "A magnitude 5.9 earthquake occurred 50 km north-west of Te Kaha, New Zealand on Sun Nov 24 2019 5:34 AM. The quake was 115 kilometres deep and the shaking was moderate close to the quake". www.geonet.org.nz. Archived from the original on 10 December 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  5. Sabin, Brook (10 December 2019). "Whakaari/White Island eruption: Why were tours still operating?". Stuff. Archived from the original on 9 December 2019. Retrieved 9 December 2019.
  6. Wade, Amelia (9 December 2019). "White Island eruption: First responder tells of horror 'everyone was horrifically burnt'". The New Zealand Herald. ISSN 1170-0777. Archived from the original on 10 December 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  7. "The science of the White Island eruption: A catastrophic burst of steam". Stuff. Archived from the original on 11 December 2019. Retrieved 11 December 2019.
  8. "New Zealand volcano eruption on White Island leaves three Australians believed dead, eight more still missing". ABC News. 10 December 2019. Retrieved 10 December 2019.
  9. Robson, Sarah (26 August 2021). "All Whakaari defendants plead not guilty to charges laid by WorkSafe after deadly eruption". Radio New Zealand. Archived from the original on 26 August 2021. Retrieved 26 August 2021.