8 Jan 2014

New volcano study 'of limited value'

11:19 am on 8 January 2014

A New Zealand volcanologist says new French research on super-volcanoes does not offer anything new.

The study suggests the magma underneath historic super-volcanoes like Taupo has enough force to crack through rock, without external triggers such as earthquakes.

Taupo's eruption 25,000 years ago makes it the youngest of only 10 super-volcanoes worldwide in the past 2.5 million years.

Victoria University's Colin Wilson says computer modelling has a limited value, and as there were no humans around to see super-volcanoes erupting in prehistoric times, scientists have to examine the debris from eruptions for clues.

He says volcanologists hope to be able to discover timescales that people could use should another super-volcano begin to erupt.