Lots of people do -- volcano tourism is a big deal. I was just thinking about it and have to admit that, up until today anyway, I might have taken one of those tours, too. (The White Island tour operators reportedly inform you in detail of the hazards before you go and you must sign lots of papers to get out there.)Saw people were in crater of the volcano. Like who thought that was a good idea?
PS: The setup at White Island, where you can see the cone from the mainland, is similar to Anak Krakatau, which had that horrible collapse/tsunami about a year ago. The Daily Mail seems to be referencing this possibility at White Island sensationally, so I dug up this 1996 discussion:Over the next 24 hours we still estimate an equal likelihood of either no eruption or a smaller/similar sized eruption that would impact the main crater floor, based on our observations and measurements. There is a high level of uncertainty associated with this estimate and we are working to reduce that uncertainty. We also estimate the least likely scenario is a larger eruption. There is an extremely low likelihood of any ash impact to the mainland, but people may smell gas, depending on the prevailing wind direction.
The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 3. The Aviation Colour Code remains at Orange.
Geoff Kilgour Duty Volcanologist
The prospect that an eruption at White Island could cause a tsunami has been discussed for many years. No evidence of past tsunami from White Island is know on the Bay of Plenty coast, but such evidence could be very difficult to detect. The main reason for considering the possibility at White Island comes from the generation of tsunami at other island volcanoes around the world.
Possible mechanisms which have been considered to the generation of a tsunami at White Island include:
(a) subsidence of an underwater part of the volcanic cone.
(b) collapse of part of the above-water cone into the sea.
(c) collapse of the present crater floor to below sea level during an eruption, allowing sea water access to the active vents, followed by collapse of the upper slopes of the cone into the flooded area in a two-stage mechanism.
(d) The entry into the sea or large pyroclastic flows from a White Island eruption.
Mathematical modelling of the effects of such events has suggested that damaging waves would reach the Bay of Plenty coast only if more than one cubic kilometre of water was displaced at White Island. This would require a very large event, perhaps approaching the size of the 1883 Krakatoa eruption. However, these modelling results conflict with what has actually happened around the world, where damaging tsunami have resulted from quite small eruptions. Analogy with such historic events suggests that the risk of significant tsunami damage over restricted sectors of the Bay of Plenty coast resulting from relatively small eruptions and/or cone collapse cannot be completely excluded. Because the time from generation of a White Island-sourced tsunami to arrival at the shoreline is only 20-30 minutes, there is no prospect of advanced warning which would leave time for reaction. It is thus probably safest to assume that a tsunami could accompany any major eruption at White Island.