White Island is one of several volcanoes in New Zealand that can produce sudden explosive eruptions at any time. Photo: Xinhua

Explainer |
New Zealand volcano: why White Island erupted with no warning

  • At least five people have been confirmed dead and that toll is expected to rise, following the eruption on Monday at the popular tourist site
  • The expansion of water into steam is supersonic in speed and the liquid can expand to 1,700 times its original volume. This produces catastrophic impacts
Topic |   New Zealand
White Island is one of several volcanoes in New Zealand that can produce sudden explosive eruptions at any time. Photo: Xinhua
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