4 comments on “The White Island Phreatic Eruption of Dec 9, 2019

  1. My wife and I visited Etna in 2001 and watched the volcanic bombs being blasted from the new vent and saw how the black Aa lava becomes red and alive at dusk. We were at White Island in spring 2016 and stood at the vent rim and peered in – – In 2017 we experienced a lava break out at kalapana Hawaii and took the boat to watch the lava pour into the sea. Just months later a boat had bombs thrown onto the deck and some were injured. Also guide and his party walking on the flows were over come by fumes when it rained and the wind changed he got the party out but sadly died him self we feel very lucky. Our thoughts are very much with those who lost their lives and were injured. I am a geologist –


    • It is a tough business, visiting things that occasionally remind us who or what are in charge. But it is all personal choices on how much risk to accept. Such choices backfire horribly from time to time. OTOH, the visitors are rewarded with access to spectacular venues which God will mostly allow us to depart unscathed. Prayers for the deceased and their families. Still, those who chose to go mostly knew what they were getting into and chose to do it anyway, the very definition of personal choice and freedom. Best to you and yours and thank you for your comment. Cheers –


  2. Hi A. good write-up in my opinion about a tricky topic. I understand Graniya totally too, who was upset about the commercial aspect of volcano tourism knowing the elevated risk. I understand and respect that. The only thing I can say in return is that I have no issue with volcano tourism provided people know the risks and can weigh them up for themselves. You would still have to be pretty unlucky to get hit by a phreatic explosion, even on White Island, but risk is everywhere. I think people should be able to choose for themselves. As for the operators, they also put their lives on the line, and due to repeated tours that risk is more than an entire degree of magnitude higher than the risks posed to tourists. All I have heard from them is that they love and respect the place and know what they are doing. Forgotten I had said that about banning children, but in retrospect I stand by it. /sorry, didn’t realise I had to log into WordPress again. Bruce


    • Thank you for your comment. My background is aerospace. I understand risk, especially the knowing what you are getting into part of risk. The people who are generally in the risk-tourism, extreme sports, other forms of higher than normal risk endeavors or pursuits, usually have significant respect (and love) for the thing they are doing and introducing others to. We are on the verge of seeing this take place with commercial space travel. There will be accidents and people who won’t return, and we all know it. Doesn’t mean that it won’t happen. The suborbital guys are pretty close to starting commercial flights. SpaceX has been talking about a circumlunar commercial flight in the next year or two (Apollo 13 trajectory) for a few years. These are not low risk endeavors and should be celebrated. Best to you and yours. Cheers –


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