New Zealand scientists have increased the alert level for a volcano below the country’s biggest lake, which caused the largest eruption on Earth in the past 5,000 years when it last exploded about 1,800 years ago.

Posted BY: Wyatt | NwoReport

In a statement, geological agency GeoNet said it had detected almost 700 small earthquakes below Lake Taupo, the caldera created by the giant volcano, and had raised the volcanic alert level to 1 — minor volcanic unrest — from 0.

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The volcanic alert system is based on six escalating levels, but GeoNet notes that eruptions may occur at any level, and levels may not move in sequence as activity can change rapidly.

The Taupo volcano spewed more than 100 cubic kilometres of material into the atmosphere when it last erupted around 200 AD, devastating a large area of New Zealand’s central North Island in a period before human habitation.

GeoNet says the eruption was the largest on the planet in the past 5,000 years.

The agency added while it was the first time it had raised the Taupo Volcano alert level to 1, it was not the first time there had been activity, and said the chance of an eruption remained very low.

The earthquakes and deformation could continue for the coming weeks or months,” it said.

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