Satellites predicted that the Whakaari/White Island crater would collapse, and it indeed came to pass not long after observing abnormal activity in the region. Scientists think it would be best if the images captured are simulated to predict eruptions and warn the people living in proximity to this kind’s natural resources. Geothermal scientist Dr. Mark Harvey is moving to the Bahamas to avoid the pandemic and run his businesses. Initially, Harvey was had taken his time to observe the photographic pictures of Whakaari taken by satellites to reveal what they did not see coming and could have avoided. He observed an area on the map growing like a bubble, suggesting that it was the origin of the eruption.

Harvey explained that the bubble grew for some time before subsiding and eventually erupting to kill 22 people. He added that magma was growing from the inside before it shot through the dome-like a needle. This research by Harvey will help scientists observe the satellite images of the other places on Earth known or exhibiting features of possible eruptions and where the domes have contracted in preparation for mega eruptions. Harvey advised that scientists will have to observe keenly to identify the tiny changes that can impact the volcanic activities. The data was scarce in the past, but the recent developments in satellite technology have resulted in numerous satellite monitoring activities on Earth.

Harvey noted that studying volcanic operations and the area known for such phenomena will help predict the next eruptions. The Whakaari disaster is revealing the changes and studies that scientists can initiate to avert such disasters. Auckland University Professor of Volcanology Shane Cronin explained that venturing eruption forecasting could give more data, including crater emergence, gas emissions, electromagnetic fields, and seismic movements on Earth. If all these are factored into the studies, scientists can have a comprehensive system to avert natural disasters or prepare people for these eventualities.

Cronin is optimistic that they can come up with such systems in five years. For instance, Cronin participated in developing a system that can predict seismic movements and send detection signals 16 hours before it occurs and utilizes it in the Whakaari eruption saving some people from the disaster. However, some systems are to be blamed for not issuing the alerts early, like GNS Science, leading to volcano observation processes. Nevertheless, it has already happened, and it is time to prepare for the future rather than playing blame games.

By Adam