Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Volcano of the Week #20 - Whakaari

This is a tiny volcano island in the Bay of Plenty in New Zealand and is also known as the White Island, but that's not as fun. Its about 2km in diameter and the volcano rises about 300m out of the sea. It is an active stratovolcano which last erupted in 2001. While the volcano had obviously previously been known to Maori who named it Whakaari, which means 'that which can be made visible' which is an accurate name as much of the volcano lies underwater, it was 'discovered' in 1769 by Captain Cook who called it White Island. This was because it was immersed in a cloud of smoke so it looked white, but the didn't realise it was a volcano, I know I'm no explorer but I could have probably told you that the large mountain spewing fire and smoke was probably a volcano. I'm glad I was never in Cook at St Peters- to explain this reference my junior school houses were divided into explorers, I was in Scott which totally ruled, the others were Cook, Raleigh and Drake- they sucked. The Maori used the sulphur from the volcano as garden fertiliser and ate the muttonbirds that lived on the island, the later sold the island to the Dutch for 2 barrels of rum - sounds like a great deal.

Later they tried to use the island to mine sulphur, which may sound like an incredibly stupid thing to do but there are volcanoes in the world where they still mine sulphur. The stopped doing it on Whakaari after a mudflow from the volcano killed all 10 workers- according to wikipedia the camp cat survived- I hope by this they mean he was a bit hammy. The sulphur was used for an anitbacterial aid to sterilise corks and stuff. The island is a scenic reserve and you cannot land without permission so take this into consideration when visiting all volcanoes of the world. There is a drama school called Toi Whakaari which looks pretty cool if you like that sort of thing.

Finally I strongly recommend looking at this on googlemaps- but I say that about everything. 

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