Wednesday, 20 February 2019

White Island volcano

White Island Volcano
Feb 2019

Following Monday's earth tremor we pushed the boat out today and took a 30 mile sea crossing to White Island, New Zealand's most active marine volcano.

 Ohope Beach at sunset

I have a passion for geology and plate tectonics so visiting an active offshore active volcano is something of a treat. The island is the caldera of an old volcano which blew up thousands of years ago but has been spluttering away ever since, and having its last real eruption in 1976.

Sulphuric White Island

These days it is pretty calm but still suer heater sulphur spews out of steaming fumeroles and fills a central lake which gently simmers away at 50c. But don't bathe in it because it is 60 times as acidic as a car battery!

We went in armed with hard hats and gas masks should the wind shift and blow the sulphuric gas over us.

The island was home to a sulphur factory for 10 years between the wars, but it ended tragically when there was a minor eruption which killed all the workers. Today just he ad and corroded remains stand as an object for the handful of visitors who make the passage to see the place.

On the way back we met a huge school of dolphins which played on our wake and offered a challenging photography.

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