Hazards from hydrothermally sealed volcanic conduits



The 17 March 2006 eruption from Raoul Island (Kermadec arc, north of New Zealand) is interpreted as a magmatic-hydrothermal event triggered by shaking associated with a swarm of local earthquakes. The eruption, which tragically claimed the life of New Zealand Department of Conservation Ranger Mark Kearney, occurred without significant volcanic seismicity or any of the precursory responses the volcanic hydrothermal system exhibited prior to a similarly sized eruption in 1964.

Preliminary evidence suggests that the absence of precursory behavior is probably the consequence of hydrothermal sealing of the volcanic conduit since the 1964 eruption, and points to potential hazards associated with quiescent oceanic island volcanoes.