Get close up views of New Zealands most active volcanoe
White Island is New Zealand's most active volcanoe

Whakaari or White Island is New Zealand's most active volcano, and has recently (July, 2000) had it's largest eruption in 20 years. Located 48 km offshore, the eruptions are clearly visible from the Bay of Plenty. Iin the last 160 years no eruptions have caused any significant effects to inhabitants of the North Island. Since 1976 the Island has been more active than the last few hundred years, sparking considerable interest. Although not evident in history, recent studies show White Island capable of large eruptions. This potential arises from the large magma body beneath the island.

Falling ash and pumice is the usual threat, but, as with other offshore volcanoes, the possibility of a tsunami has also been discussed. It would take a very large eruption from White Island to cause such an event. (Krakatoa's 1883 eruption caused a tsunami) A hot lake was permanently drained on White Island's crater floor in 1913 to allow the sulphur deposits to be mined. In 1914 the crater wall collapsed causing a hot avalanche that buried 11 sulphur miners.