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1257 posts

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  # 2378972 20-Dec-2019 08:32
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Gordon Campbell has written several articles about the White Island tragedy and they include some detail that's worth reading. For example:

 

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1912/S00100/gordon-campbell-on-a-white-island-inquiry.htm

 

From the above:

 

In early December, GNS Science had reported increasing volcanic activity, subsequent to the prior elevated risk warning that it issued on November 18. The bolded emphasis in this December 3rd GNS Science release is mine:

 

Moderate volcanic unrest continues at Whakaari/White Island, with substantial gas, steam and mud bursts observed at the vent located at the back of the crater lake…..Explosive gas and steam-driven mud jetting continues from the active vent area at the back of the crater lake on Whakaari/White Island. The level of activity at the vent is variable and when in a stronger phase, some material is being deposited about the vent area. This style of activity has been present since late September, although it is occurring more frequently now…

 

In November, GNS volcanologist Dr Michael Rosenburg had indicated that the changes being observed may or may not be a signal that something was happening, but this uncertainty shouldn’t be cause for undue concern.

 

"The White Island volcano is really complicated and just because one thing changes, it doesn't necessarily mean that everything else will change and it doesn't necessarily mean that this is going to lead to an eruption.” Dr Rosenburg said tour groups could still visit the island.

 

Now it's interesting that Dr Rosenburg reportedly said that "tour groups could still visit the island".

 

Yet it seems as if GNS Science had been watching that process of the sealing materials being deposited, but without raising the alarm level. And without additionally warning the tour operators - or the public - of the potential consequences.

 

So did GNS Science do enough to warn tour operators and the public of what they new about the heightened risk of eruption?

 

Overall, a good article (IMHO).

 

 


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  # 2378978 20-Dec-2019 08:44
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frednz:

 

Gordon Campbell has written several articles about the White Island tragedy and they include some detail that's worth reading. For example:

 

https://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/HL1912/S00100/gordon-campbell-on-a-white-island-inquiry.htm

 

From the above:

 

In early December, GNS Science had reported increasing volcanic activity, subsequent to the prior elevated risk warning that it issued on November 18. The bolded emphasis in this December 3rd GNS Science release is mine:

 

Moderate volcanic unrest continues at Whakaari/White Island, with substantial gas, steam and mud bursts observed at the vent located at the back of the crater lake…..Explosive gas and steam-driven mud jetting continues from the active vent area at the back of the crater lake on Whakaari/White Island. The level of activity at the vent is variable and when in a stronger phase, some material is being deposited about the vent area. This style of activity has been present since late September, although it is occurring more frequently now…

 

In November, GNS volcanologist Dr Michael Rosenburg had indicated that the changes being observed may or may not be a signal that something was happening, but this uncertainty shouldn’t be cause for undue concern.

 

"The White Island volcano is really complicated and just because one thing changes, it doesn't necessarily mean that everything else will change and it doesn't necessarily mean that this is going to lead to an eruption.” Dr Rosenburg said tour groups could still visit the island.

 

Now it's interesting that Dr Rosenburg reportedly said that "tour groups could still visit the island".

 

Yet it seems as if GNS Science had been watching that process of the sealing materials being deposited, but without raising the alarm level. And without additionally warning the tour operators - or the public - of the potential consequences.

 

So did GNS Science do enough to warn tour operators and the public of what they new about the heightened risk of eruption?

 

Overall, a good article (IMHO).

 

 

 

 

They did raise the alarm level, from 1 (simmering as normal) to 2, extra abnormal activity


 
 
 
 


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  # 2378982 20-Dec-2019 08:52
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tdgeek:

 

They did raise the alarm level, from 1 (simmering as normal) to 2, extra abnormal activity

 

 

From the article:

 

Note the re-assuring commentary: “While the activity is contained to the far side of the lake, the current level of activity does not pose a direct hazard to visitors…” In other words, so long as the volcano obligingly confined its activities to one side of the lake, no “direct” hazard existed for visitors and all would be well. Clearly, there was never a particularly solid scientific basis for such an assurance. 

 

Note Campbell's conclusion from the above quote. It seems that, just raising the alarm level to "2" perhaps didn't really give enough detail on the situation for either the tour operators OR the tourists, who wouldn't have known this level of detail.


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  # 2378994 20-Dec-2019 09:05
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frednz:

 

 

 

From the article:

 

Note the re-assuring commentary: “While the activity is contained to the far side of the lake, the current level of activity does not pose a direct hazard to visitors…” In other words, so long as the volcano obligingly confined its activities to one side of the lake, no “direct” hazard existed for visitors and all would be well. Clearly, there was never a particularly solid scientific basis for such an assurance. 

 

Note Campbell's conclusion from the above quote. It seems that, just raising the alarm level to "2" perhaps didn't really give enough detail on the situation for either the tour operators OR the tourists, who wouldn't have known this level of detail.

 

 

From what I recall, the details over the preceding weeks were no secret. Operators get guidance from GNS, but they chose Alert 2 as ok. Tourists only told its a volcano, there is a risk, i.e. standard and scripted. That's what I recall. To me, stable and simmering is acceptable risk, unstable isnt


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  # 2379024 20-Dec-2019 09:29
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tdgeek:

 

frednz:

 

 

 

From the article:

 

Note the re-assuring commentary: “While the activity is contained to the far side of the lake, the current level of activity does not pose a direct hazard to visitors…” In other words, so long as the volcano obligingly confined its activities to one side of the lake, no “direct” hazard existed for visitors and all would be well. Clearly, there was never a particularly solid scientific basis for such an assurance. 

 

Note Campbell's conclusion from the above quote. It seems that, just raising the alarm level to "2" perhaps didn't really give enough detail on the situation for either the tour operators OR the tourists, who wouldn't have known this level of detail.

 

 

From what I recall, the details over the preceding weeks were no secret. Operators get guidance from GNS, but they chose Alert 2 as ok. Tourists only told its a volcano, there is a risk, i.e. standard and scripted. That's what I recall. To me, stable and simmering is acceptable risk, unstable isnt

 

 

Campbell agrees that tourists probably weren't given the detail they needed to decide whether or not to go into such a hazardous environment:

 

"In effect, tourists were being taken into a risk environment where no adequate method existed for evaluating and responding in any meaningful time, to the chronic risk of death and injury. White Island was safe, but only until such time as it suddenly wasn’t. (Were the tourists advised beforehand of the likely fatal outcome of a worst case scenario? Probably not.)

 

To all appearances, Royal Caribbean would now seem highly vulnerable to a major lawsuit, given that it was actively engaged in promoting the tours on board the Ovation of the Sea"

 

 


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  # 2379034 20-Dec-2019 09:40
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I agree. My sadness is that the changes that were happening over weeks were there, in detail, by GNS, for the operators. I dont thank WI is at alert 2 that often, but that instability was a risk worth taking by the operators IMHO, which I feel was wrong. Now, its cost lives and probably their business. And I'd wager that Govt will pay the operators compensation, ugh


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  # 2379054 20-Dec-2019 10:10
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I know a number of people who have visited White Island. It's something I had always wanted to do, but probably won't get a chance now.

 

IMHO the risks of visiting have always been downplayed - this is not like visiting mud pools in Rotorua or climbing Ruapehu. It is an active volcano that changes regularly and multiple hazards exist on the island. The mere fact masks are issued as standard really demonstrates the risk. There would no no other environment in NZ where people are exposed to such risks, and the requirement of a mask in a workplace would require all sorts of other H&S requirements and risk assessments.

 

So many people made comments to me about the risks of visiting Chernobyl (I went there a few years ago before it was trendy), and from speaking to somebody I know who has visited both Chernobyl and White Island the comment was made that Chernobyl was a very safe place to visit compared to White Island.   


 
 
 
 


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  # 2379156 20-Dec-2019 12:39
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sbiddle:

 

I know a number of people who have visited White Island. It's something I had always wanted to do, but probably won't get a chance now.

 

IMHO the risks of visiting have always been downplayed - this is not like visiting mud pools in Rotorua or climbing Ruapehu. It is an active volcano that changes regularly and multiple hazards exist on the island. The mere fact masks are issued as standard really demonstrates the risk. There would no no other environment in NZ where people are exposed to such risks, and the requirement of a mask in a workplace would require all sorts of other H&S requirements and risk assessments.

 

So many people made comments to me about the risks of visiting Chernobyl (I went there a few years ago before it was trendy), and from speaking to somebody I know who has visited both Chernobyl and White Island the comment was made that Chernobyl was a very safe place to visit compared to White Island.   

 

 

I visited White Island six years ago. Yes, we did feel a little uneasy signing a waiver acknowledging we were visiting an active volcano - but did we fully understand the potential for an immediate eruption, without warning, which could kill or severely injure every single person on the island without exception? No.

 

And to those who say "it's an active volcano, what did you expect?", I'd say I'm not a volcanologist and the tours were not promoted as posing any significant risk. And I'd add that it's always easy to be an expert in hindsight.

 

The visit to the volcano was an extremely memorable day. I felt like I was on another planet. We visited on a beautiful blue day, pretty much the same as the day of the eruption. It all feels a little surreal now. I think a lot about those who remain severely injured.

 

I don't think tourists should visit in future. Potential has now become reality. It's just too dangerous to risk a repeat.


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  # 2379158 20-Dec-2019 12:43
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Hopefully part of the inquiries into the White Island eruption will focus on the rescue efforts. Whether anything could have been done differently and what can be learned from this tragedy.


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  # 2379161 20-Dec-2019 12:53
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People will often look at history when trying to determine the risk.

 


How many other times has White Island erupted when it has been at alert level 2?


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  # 2379165 20-Dec-2019 13:01
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djtOtago:

 

People will often look at history when trying to determine the risk.

 


How many other times has White Island erupted when it has been at alert level 2?

 

 

How many times in the 30 years has it been at level 2?                       days/10950

 

Its a risk, but the vast majority of the time it becomes unstable, gives clues that it may blow. Alert 2 is that much riskier period. Why flaunt it? Eventually the heightened odds will catch up, as they have.  How many eruptions have occurred at Alert 1?  Probably none.


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  # 2379175 20-Dec-2019 13:20
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dafman:

 

I visited White Island six years ago. Yes, we did feel a little uneasy signing a waiver acknowledging we were visiting an active volcano - but did we fully understand the potential for an immediate eruption, without warning, which could kill or severely injure every single person on the island without exception? No.

 

And to those who say "it's an active volcano, what did you expect?", I'd say I'm not a volcanologist and the tours were not promoted as posing any significant risk. And I'd add that it's always easy to be an expert in hindsight.

 

The visit to the volcano was an extremely memorable day. I felt like I was on another planet. We visited on a beautiful blue day, pretty much the same as the day of the eruption. It all feels a little surreal now. I think a lot about those who remain severely injured.

 

 

This was my experience too when I visited about 8 years ago. They didn't really give any indication that it was any more dangerous than wandering around some of the Rotorua thermal areas.


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  # 2379754 22-Dec-2019 07:28
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https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/opinion/118356429/mark-reason-our-shameful-hypocrisy-stretches-from-white-island-to-bodyline

 

The above article by Mark Reason says that:

 

"But why on earth did Jacinda Ardern not also stand up and publicly apologise to the families and to the countries where these lost souls were nurtured. How can a government make its citizens wear a bike helmet and spend thousands of dollars fencing a private pool (restrictions that do not apply on most of mainland Europe), yet let young,innocent people from overseas wander into a red-hot danger zone.

 

The cynical and squalid answer is money. Fenced pools bring in revenue in council consents and building work. But adventure tourism is a huge part of New Zealand's economy. The government doesn't want to put a fence around that for fear of all the lost dollars."

 

The suggestion that the Government should decide what visitors to this country can and can't do is going over the top a bit (IMHO). Surely, some people don't mind taking risks in exchange for the thrills of adventure tourism. The risk of being caught in an eruption on White Island is probably no more than being hurt in a car or aviation accident. However, this risk needs to be managed a bit more carefully with White Island so that tours are cancelled when the activity level is higher than "1".

 

As for bodyline bowling in the cricket, I tend to agree with Mark Reason on this one, it's developing into how to dodge head-high balls without them somehow touching the bat or gloves. In my opinion, head-high bowling is ruining cricket and is far too dangerous and is just an intimidating tactic.


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  # 2379771 22-Dec-2019 09:27
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frednz:

 

https://www.stuff.co.nz/sport/opinion/118356429/mark-reason-our-shameful-hypocrisy-stretches-from-white-island-to-bodyline

 

The above article by Mark Reason says that:

 

"But why on earth did Jacinda Ardern not also stand up and publicly apologise to the families and to the countries where these lost souls were nurtured. How can a government make its citizens wear a bike helmet and spend thousands of dollars fencing a private pool (restrictions that do not apply on most of mainland Europe), yet let young,innocent people from overseas wander into a red-hot danger zone.

 

The cynical and squalid answer is money. Fenced pools bring in revenue in council consents and building work. But adventure tourism is a huge part of New Zealand's economy. The government doesn't want to put a fence around that for fear of all the lost dollars."

 

The suggestion that the Government should decide what visitors to this country can and can't do is going over the top a bit (IMHO). Surely, some people don't mind taking risks in exchange for the thrills of adventure tourism. The risk of being caught in an eruption on White Island is probably no more than being hurt in a car or aviation accident. However, this risk needs to be managed a bit more carefully with White Island so that tours are cancelled when the activity level is higher than "1".

 

As for bodyline bowling in the cricket, I tend to agree with Mark Reason on this one, it's developing into how to dodge head-high balls without them somehow touching the bat or gloves. In my opinion, head-high bowling is ruining cricket and is far too dangerous and is just an intimidating tactic.

 

 

Memo to Mark Reason. Only the lowest of the low would use this tragedy at this time as a prop for cheap political point scoring.


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Ultimate Geek


  # 2379776 22-Dec-2019 09:38
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frednz:

 

As for bodyline bowling in the cricket, I tend to agree with Mark Reason on this one, it's developing into how to dodge head-high balls without them somehow touching the bat or gloves. In my opinion, head-high bowling is ruining cricket and is far too dangerous and is just an intimidating tactic.

 

 

 

 

At the risk of going off topic, I think bowlers in shorter forms should be allowed more than one bouncer. 50 over and 20/20 is heavily weight towards the bat now, flat tracks, white ball doesn't move as much. Bats/wo/men would think twice if they know the bowler is allowed one more bouncer. 

 

It's part of the game.


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