The alert level has been raised at New Zealand’s giant volcano Taupo

New Zealand scientists have raised the alert level for a giant volcano – which was the source of Earth’s largest eruption in the last 5,000 years.

Geological agency GeoNet said it had detected nearly 700 small earthquakes beneath Lake Taupo, the caldera created by the Taupo volcano and New Zealand’s largest lake.

A statement said the volcano alert level had been raised from 0 to 1.

The volcano warning system is based on six escalating unrest levels, but Geonet points out that eruptions can occur at any level and the levels may not move sequentially as activity can change quickly.

Taupo Volcano last exploded about 1,800 years ago, around 200 B.C. BC hurled more than 100 cubic kilometers of material into the atmosphere.

The eruption devastated a large area of ​​New Zealand’s central North Island in a time before humans existed.

According to Geonet, the eruption was the largest on the planet in the last 5,000 years.

The agency added that this was the first time it had raised the alert level for the Taupo volcano to 1, but this was not the first time unrest had occurred and said the likelihood of an eruption remains very low.

Earthquakes “could continue”

It said: “The earthquakes and deformations may continue in the coming weeks or months.”

Located on the boundary between the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates, New Zealand experiences strong volcanism and earthquakes.

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In 2019, steam and ash suddenly erupted on White Island, known as Whakaari, killing 22 people and seriously injuring 25, mostly tourists.