New Zealand's Mount Taranaki Eruption A Matter Of 'When' Not 'If'
A volcano in New Zealand is "almost certain" to erupt in the coming years, according to volcano experts.
It is thought that any explosion would cause great damage and devastation to areas near the mountain.
A report published by authorities in New Zealand says that "an eruption of Mount Taranaki is not a matter of 'if', it is a matter of 'when'".
The report, which details the region's five year Civil Defence plan said that the mountain, which last erupted 500 years ago, could cause all sorts of horrible and dangerous problems.
It said: "An eruption of Mount Taranaki could produce volcanic hazards such as tephra falls, pyroclastic density currents, lava flows, lahars, flooding, debris avalanches, sector collapses, lightning and volcanic gases."
To clear a few of those things up, tephra falls are basically rocks, ash, or debris falling from the sky - never a good sign - pyroclastic density currents are really dangerous - run, that's all you need to know about that - lahars are horrible mudslides and flows.
Basically, it's going to be bad news if Mount Taranaki blows it's top. Not just for the national park that surrounds it, Egmont National Park, but for everyone living anywhere nearby.
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The good news is that it isn't currently showing any signs that it is going to go off, and the authorities are pretty sure that they are keeping as close an eye on it as they need to if they are going to raise the alarm once things start to kick off.
Once they see any signs of a coming eruption, they will sound the alarm and start getting everyone the hell out of there.
The report did say that the likelihood of an eruption has almost doubled in recent times. However, that is no major cause for concern. It has gone up from about 1.6% to 3.1%.
What they seem to be saying, rather than "run for your lives, this thing is gonna blow" is a slightly more reserved "at the end of the day, this is an active volcano, so we're treating it with a bit of respect".
That seems fair enough.
Mount Taranaki has erupted in some way - usually between moderate and large eruptions - about once every 500 years. The last one was in 1655, so it's in the post.
New Zealand has enough experience in this field, too. Mount Ruapehu, on the North Island, erupted back in 2007 and killed one person.
Let's hope that alarm system works as it should.
Featured Image Credit: PA