Whakaari/White Island eruption – images and videos

Whakaari/White Island erupted on 9 December 2019. It is regarded as New Zealand’s most active volcano, having erupted in 1975-2000, 2012-2013 and 2016.

As at the moment 8 people have been confirmed dead (it has just been announced that 2 more have died of injuries so up from 6) and 8 are still on the island, presumed dead. Over 20 survivors are in hospital suffering from severe burns.

White Island, showing the white clouds of highly acidic gases.

White Island, showing the white clouds of highly acidic gases. (Geonet)

Geonet About:

Sitting 48 km offshore, Whakaari/White Island is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano which has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years. About 70 percent of the volcano is under the sea, making this massive volcanic structure the largest in New Zealand.

A sulphur mining venture began on the island in 1885; this was stopped abruptly in 1914 when part of the crater wall collapsed, and a landslide destroyed the sulphur mine and miners’ village; twelve lives were lost. The remains of buildings from another mining episode in the 1920’s era are now a tourist attraction.

Although privately owned, Whakaari/White Island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit the volcano every year.

Previous Eruptions

1975-2000:

White Island was in eruption from December 1975 to September 2000, the longest historic eruption episode. This eruption episode developed many collapse and explosion craters. For long periods active vents in these craters emitted volcanic ash. The last major eruption of this episode was in late July 2000 and covered the crater floor area in scoria, also displacing a crater lake and forming a new explosion crater 150 m across.

2012-2013

An explosive eruption occurred on 5 August 2012 with a period of ash emissions. This was followed by heating in the Crater Lake and the extrusion of a small lava dome Oct-Dec 2012.

Steam and sulphur explosions followed in Feb-April 2013 which removed the lake. By June the lake was re-established.

A further explosive eruption followed on 20 August and again on 4,8 and11 October 2013. In November 2015 a large landslide slipped into the lake.

2016

On 27 April a short-lived eruption occurred in the evening. It deposited material all over the crater floor onto some of the crater walls. The eruption and associated small collapse of the lake edge also formed a new depression in the north east corner of the 1978/90 Crater Complex,.

In September, for a short period of time, ash was passively emitted from a vent on the 2012 lava dome.

From a tourist visit in 2017:

Michael Schade has posted a number of videos and and images from Monday’s eruption. He had toured the island half an hour before the eruption and took videos beefore, during and after the eruption from a boat that was leaving the island, but returned to pick up survivors who were on the island during the eruption.

It has been reported that the eruption was virtually silent from the boat.

Checked photo timestamps. Last photo from me standing on the land was 13:49; this first photo of the eruption was 14:12, about a minute or two into the eruption.

Image

At it’s worst the ash, steam and gas cloud engulfed the island.

Image

Survivors waiting on the landing area after the eruption, Some went into the sea to try to moderate the effect of their burns.

This helicopter was knocked off it’s landing pad:

Image

The pilot and four passengers were evacuated by boat. They were not injured as much as most of those on the island.

Last photos: here are the White Island Tour operators rescuing people, timestamp 14:24 (~12-14 minutes after eruption). Endless gratitude to that crew for stepping up as first responders.

Image

Image

More from VOA:

This shows sulphur from the island streaked in the sea.

More tourist videos:

National Geographic details on the eruption:  Why the New Zealand volcano eruption caught the world by surprise

While there was no obvious sign of an imminent eruption on Monday seismic activity on the island has increased significantly since then, meaning recovery of bodies has had to be delayed.


Tour pelo vulcão White Island – New Zealand

Esse video tem por objetivo mostrar um pouco de como foi o tour pelo vulcão White Island antes e depois da erupção.

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47 Comments

  1. Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th December 2019

      I grew up in the shadow of Mt Taranaki, imo the most stunning volcano in the country, the last of I believe a sequence of 3 that created the province itself, & is considered geologically “overdue” for an eruption. It’s blown itself to bits like Mt St Helens, & rebuilt its cone 5 times, I read once, years ago.

      So I’m interested in volcanos. I would’ve loved to visit Whakāri. While it’s always easy to be wise after the event, an Australian volcanologist who has visited the volcano twice said he had been concerned about tourists visiting it both times because in his opinion, given its specific characteristics & notorious phreatic unpredictability, it was even then a disaster waiting to happen.

      Reply
  2. Media and social media are demanding that the bodies be recovered straight away. Geonet seismic activity shows how risky the situation is right now:
    https://www.geonet.org.nz/volcano/monitoring/whiteisland

    Duncan Garner slammed the police for not rushing into recovery:

    I say we must let calculated courage be our test – and sometimes locals know best, not transplanted police officers from Wellington who take charge because a 50-year-old piece of law says that must be the case.

    https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zealand/2019/12/duncan-garner-police-refusal-to-recover-bodies-from-white-island-must-be-questioned.html

    David Farrar agreed:

    This sounds harsh, but all those people got rescued because the locals acted before the police arrived and banned rescue activity. If the Police had got there earlier and taken charge earlier, the death toll may have been much larger.

    https://www.kiwiblog.co.nz/2019/12/i_agree_with_garner_on_police.html

    Sad to see Garner and Farrar taking this line of attack on the Police.

    This comment from Paul P is sad in another way, but there's some truth in it:

    Interesting the comments by the brother of the guide that died.

    He was saying that the locals know when it’s safe and when it’s not so they should be left to get on with it.

    The sad truth is that his brother, the guide, was a local with this so called knowledge and he was on the island when it blew up.

    You’d think if he knew when it was safe and when it was dangerous he wouldn’t have been on the island when it erupted then!

    The brother requested a ”pardon’ from Jacinda Ardern if he tries to recover bodies himself. This has been turned down by Minister of Police Stuart Nash.

    Reply
    • lurcher1948

       /  12th December 2019

      The right are very pushy when it’s not their bodies on the line.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  12th December 2019

        I just heard on the radio that Geonet now concedes a rescue attempt could have been made on Tuesday.

        ”The right are very pushy when it’s not their bodies on the line.”

        That’s bs because I bet some of those who wanted to continue a rescue effort would have been Righties – although I fail to see what right and left have to do with this situation.

        Righty commentators are also entitled to a view…and it’s starting to look like they were correct with some of their observations.

        Reply
        • “I just heard on the radio that Geonet now concedes a rescue attempt could have been made on Tuesday.”

          That’s obvious but meaningless.

          The tourists could have viewed the volcano safely on Sunday.

          One thing that is widely agreed on by experts is the unpredictability of Whakaari. All geonet can give is approximate likelihoods. Their seismic drum and other data shows there’s a significant risk. Others make decisions from there.

          Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th December 2019

      It’s also a fact that had those who wanted to chopper there with gas masks & protective gear and earlier get possibly more survivors, & later, bodies of the deceased, & bring them back, by could have done it without the mountain erupting.

      I don’t believe the Police should be in charge of disaster & emergenct responses in NZ. They are not suitably trained or suited to it. They behave like cops planning prosecutions and have no overall plan and methodology.

      Civil Defence, or a specialist Disaster & Emergency Management should be in charge. Time to change the system, imo.

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  12th December 2019

        *by now

        Reply
      • I take issue with your comment, Gezza, that the Police are not suitably trained or suited for disaster and emergency response work.

        The Police have always been at the centre of rescue efforts, because they have a nation-wide 24-hour presence and the communications network to respond to emergencies. Their principal roles include:
        – maintaining law and order
        – protecting life and property
        – assisting the movement of rescue, medical, fire and other essential services
        – assisting the coroner
        – coordinating movement control over land, and
        – conducting inland search and rescue

        The suggestion that they only focus on maintaining law and order is blinkered. And the suggestion that they do not train for emergency work is bonkers (and unsubstantiated). They are an emergency agency!!

        Police, fire, and defence force all have significant training regimes for responding to emergencies, and they have a senior management struture that includes Commissioners for Response and Operations, and Command and Emergency Management, in the technical advisory group for Civil Defence.

        Untrained and unsuited??? Next you’ll be making that tawdry White Island/Pike River comparison that some of the keyboard heroes here have been making.

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  12th December 2019

          In my opinion this is a Civil Defence Emergency & should have a specialist disaster response management structure. Civil Defence are supposed to be set up for exactly this situation given that that earthquakes (& tsunamis) & volcanic eruptions are precisely the kind of Energency / Disaster they should be trained & structured for. We only recently had a live test of their mobile warning system.

          They should be the biggest part of the team, but I do not consider this is an operation police should be in charge of. Nor was Pike River. Supt Knowles had a horrible job to do & he did it horribly.

          Reply
        • Corky

           /  12th December 2019

          ”Untrained and unsuited??? Next you’ll be making that tawdry White Island/Pike River comparison that some of the keyboard heroes here have been making.”

          Please feel free to name me. I was the first to suggest that comparison on this blog.
          And I’m quite prepared to defend that comparison. You may remember it came from a
          reply to AW ‘s comment about police actions.

          I agree with Gezza..and Stuart Nash’s latest comments would indirectly confirm that.

          ”The suggestion that they only focus on maintaining law and order is blinkered. And the suggestion that they do not train for emergency work is bonkers (and unsubstantiated). They are an emergency agency!”

          That’s true. But they are a jack of all trades re civilian emergencies. They are not specialists in all fields. Here’s a comment about a local specialist from Stuart Nash.

          ”His skill and courage, let alone his intimate knowledge of the island and victim location, will be invaluable to the successful recovery of the victims,” Police Minister Stuart Nash told media late last night.”

          Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  12th December 2019

            You quoted the criticisms, you didn’t come up with the idea.

            It may not be a ‘tawdry’ comparison, but as one was an underground explosion in a mine and the other a volcanic eruption above ground, it’s in many ways a meaningless one.

            The emergency services know what they are doing. Calling them jacks of all trades is a specious insult. There will be some specialists there.

            Locals don’t always know best. I have lived in a mining town and while I knew a reasonable amount about mines and even mine rescues, I wouldn’t have claimed to know more than someone who’d trained in the field of mining and mine rescues, any more than I could run the farm across the road from where I live now.

            Reply
        • Alan Wilkinson

           /  12th December 2019

          Individual police are normal heroic Kiwis. The system and its bureaucracy is something else. It’s under the international spotlight now and being found wanting. Again.

          Reply
  3. Reply
    • Corky

       /  12th December 2019

      Yes, and I see Stuart Nash has criticised the police. He read the tea leaves and decided to cover his exposed rear end. Good politics. Nash – a man of the people.

      Reply
  4. Zedd

     /  12th December 2019

    Breakfast news TV1; 2 more have died.. ‘official death toll’ now stands at 8 !

    Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th December 2019

      Don’t you read PG’s posts before commenting?

      Para 2:

      As at the moment 8 people have been confirmed dead (it has just been announced that 2 more have died of injuries so up from 6) and 8 are still on the island, presumed dead. Over 20 survivors are in hospital suffering from severe burns.

      Reply
  5. PICKLED POSSUM

     /  12th December 2019

    Reply
    • Corky

       /  12th December 2019

      Chur…are down at the Marae helping to feed the mauhire, eh hine? There will be many.

      Reply
      • Corky

         /  12th December 2019

        *you*

        Reply
        • Gezza

           /  12th December 2019

          *mauhire ?

          Want to have another try at that one?

          Reply
          • Gezza

             /  12th December 2019

            See bro. This is another situation where your claimed backstory just doesn’t add up. Most primary school kids today would know who manuhiri are & probably how it’s spelt.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th December 2019

              He must be thinking of the Mauhire family; it’s a surname, but not a Maori one as far as I know. Perhaps a Mauhire is visiting from the US and will be on a marae.

              I think that we’d have learned that word when I was at primary school.

            • Corky

               /  12th December 2019

              Obviously I spelt it wrong..as I do many other words. I must admit I don’t proof read. If I did it would have been picked up and corrected.

              ”See bro. This is another situation where your claimed backstory just doesn’t add up.”

              As I’ve stated before, you become very picky and are on to any little thing like a rabid pitbull.

              ”Most primary school kids today would know who manuhiri are & probably how it’s spelt.”

              No they wouldn’t. Unless they are in Maori focused classes or groups.

              Why didn’t PP correct me? I would have thought she would have been on to me quick smart…given I have shown her up so many times.

              Did she pass the baton to you? 😊

            • Gezza

               /  12th December 2019

              ”Most primary school kids today would know who manuhiri are & probably how it’s spelt.”
              No they wouldn’t. Unless they are in Maori focused classes or groups.

              Down here in Welly, they would. Even every primary school in Tawa would. There are Maori motifs & signs on classrooms and other buildings in Maori & English everywhere. Lessons are in English. It’s just not an issue for most. Where you purport your Waka Turangawaewae to be I’d expect it to be even more like this.

              Why didn’t PP correct me? I would have thought she would have been on to me quick smart…given I have shown her up so many times. Did she pass the baton to you?

              Why should she? All you ever do is sneer at her & try to put her & other Maori down. You haven’t shown her up on anything. And I know her backstory & have actually met her partner & some of her whanau. You make a lot of incorrect assumptions. But she’s definitely Maori as, bro. If she wanted you to know more she’d tell you. She values her anonymity here as much as we do.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th December 2019

              We learned some Maori at school and it was happening more than 100 years ago. .

              I found a school exercise in a Victorian dictionary, two pages of Maori words and phrases and their English translation, written in 1917. I also have some school exercises from the 1960s which are on similar lines.

              Sneers and jibes are not showing up the person at whom they are directed, just the person doing them.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th December 2019

              Yes, I know that 1917 isn’t Victorian, but the dictionary is. It was printed in 1893.

              I can’t see any reason why Possum would pretend to be a Maori woman if she’s not one.

            • Gezza

               /  12th December 2019

              While we all have no idea what Corky looks like, Possum doesn’t get any other choice than to be a wahine Maori. One look tells everybody she’s Maori. And rightly proud of it. Why would anyone with no reason to be want to be ashamed of who they are.

            • Gezza

               /  12th December 2019

              Or pretend to be what they’re not?

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th December 2019

              If she isn’t what she claims to be, she’s going to a lot of trouble to create a persona and doing a great job.

      • PICKLED POSSUM

         /  12th December 2019

        matanga reo – language consultant you are not
        Chur is slang for true that, sweet as or tautoko
        that’s wahine to you and that’s manuhiri not mauhire
        sheesh for a wannabe native of Aotearoa you are sadly lacking in your reo.
        .
        Probably better to stick to reo kokuhu – colonists’ language
        You are without a doubt ONE creepy baldhead

        Reply
        • Corky

           /  12th December 2019

          A little over-egged. But not bad.

          ”That’s wahine to you.”

          oops – you didn’t do enough research. E hine is the highest respect you can pay to a woman. You looked up the literal translation. That’s not how it’s used in everyday life.

          But not bad.

          ”You are without a doubt ONE creepy baldhead”

          I personally don’t use the term as it’s racist. The same with the term Hori.

          Funny thing – Gezza accused me of that the other day. 😊

          Reply
          • Corky

             /  12th December 2019

            Creepy that is.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th December 2019

              E hine and eh, hine are not the same.

            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th December 2019

              E hine is something like ‘Oh darling’ as I remember it from my schooldays when we sang it as an action song (E hine, hoki mai ra.)

          • Gezza

             /  12th December 2019

            oops – you didn’t do enough research. E hine is the highest respect you can pay to a woman. You looked up the literal translation. That’s not how it’s used in everyday life.

            Bollocks, Corky. Next you’ll be telling us e hoa is the highest compliment you can pay to a friend.

            hine
            1. (noun) girl, daughter – term of address to a girl or younger woman.

            Kātahi ka karanga atu ki te wahine, “E hine, ka ū rānei koe ki uta?”/ Then he called to the woman, ‘Girl, will you make it to shore?’

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th December 2019

              Corky thinks it acceptable to call Muslims names like mossies and beneficiaries ‘beanies’.

            • Corky

               /  12th December 2019

              I have a choice to believe what I was taught, how my elders spoke and what I heard on the Marae. Or I can believe you or a tutu Maori or a halfwit. No offence, but I prefer the genuine article.

              Now, I must admit, I don’t know what other tribes say or what local dialect variations they have. I’m no expert, nor do I claim to be.

              The problem you have is a literal translation.

              For example. ” whose shout?”

              What should I shout, a foreigner may say.

              Or our French group at College who went to New Caledonia and had difficulty understanding ‘street French.’

              I will say it one more time ..E hine was the highest compliment I was taught you could pay to a woman. Maybe it was a play to feminine vanity.

          • Gezza

             /  12th December 2019

            I remember my tuakana telling me this some years ago, “bro”. And he’s a Pakeha, who just happens to be a linguist (& who started learning Maori in Standard 4, when he picked all books on Maori as his 1st in class prizes. No other Pakeha we knew was doing anything like that back then, I even thought it was rather odd at the time. I was picking ancient history & 2nd World War books for my 1st in class prizes two years later.)

            e
            1. (particle) Used before people’s names of one long vowel or two short vowels when addressing them, with terms of address, and with nouns used as terms of address. Also used before koe, kōrua and koutou when they are used as terms of address.

            E Rangi, kei hea ō mōhiti? / Rangi, where are your glasses.
            E hine, tīkina atu he kapu! / Girl, fetch a cup, please!
            E te rangatira, he mihi nui ki a koe. / Oh chief, a great greeting to you.
            E koutou, e ngā kapa toa o te motu, i hau ai ngā rongo o Te Taura Whiri i a koutou, tēnā rā koutou katoa i roto i ngā mihi mutunga kore. / You, the champion performing arts teams of the country, you have enhanced the reputation of the Māori Language Commission, so our eternal thanks to you all.

            Reply
          • Kitty Catkin

             /  12th December 2019

            I somehow doubt if Possum needs to look up or research such basic words, any more than I would need to do this with French.

            What an insult.

            Reply
            • Kitty Catkin

               /  12th December 2019

              It is one, Corks, downticking won’t change that.

          • Kitty Catkin

             /  12th December 2019

            There is a difference between calling someone Hori if that happens to be their name, and calling someone ‘a hori’. The latter is the racist term.

            Reply
  6. Reply
    • Corky

       /  12th December 2019

      According to Nash he had a meeting with a family where frank and open dialogue ensued.
      In other words the family told Nash they will hold him responsible for anything that should happen to the tūpāpaku. In Maori culture you never leave the dead for a moment from the time of death till the time of burial. That’s assuming the meeting was with a Maori family, which I sensed it was. Although I doubt things would have been much different with a European family.

      Reply
    • Gezza

       /  12th December 2019

      The full video footage of their visit from the Brazilian tourist & his partner, who left the island minutes before it erupted, shows much more of the eruption itself than I’ve seen before, & it’s eerily silent but immediately clear how it surged both up & out, over the entire island, in what appears to be seconds. Then settled & dissipated.

      The eruption surge/cloud starts at 8.28

      Reply
      • Gezza

         /  12th December 2019

        Correction: I Just watched it again. It doesn’t cover the entire island, but it certainly envelops at least half of it & the entire area where all the tourists were likely to be.

        Reply

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