New system could provide early warning of Whakaari eruption risk
Kiwi volcanologists and engineers have finished testing an automated system that provides a warning when an eruption on Whakaari (White Island) becomes more likely.
The new system, which uses machine learning to detect patterns in seismic data, provides constant monitoring in real-time, and could provide warnings hours or days before an eruption occurs.
Lead researcher, University of Canterbury Civil and Natural Resources Engineering Senior Lecturer Dr David Dempsey, says the system, which has been tested operationally over the past two years, compares well against the existing system which is based on the opinions of expert volcanologists.
“We hope that this can help volcanologists as they grapple with the tricky job of determining the odds of an eruption.”
He says active volcanoes often attract tourists, but the safety of tourist access depends in part on how accurately volcanologists can estimate the probability of an eruption.