White Island, a popular tourist destination off the coast of New Zealand, is one of the few active volcano sites in the world that allows tourists to get close to a volcanic area. For nearly 100,000 years, volcanic activity on the island has created a conical volcano, or stratovolcano, that has been fairly active over the past three decades. In fact, the volcano erupted continuously for almost thirty years until 2000. Even since then, the volcano has been showing increasing signs of activity, and seismologists consider it an active volcanic site.
Experts have presumed an eruption is imminent, but they also know that the volcano site is notoriously difficult to predict. Nevertheless, many curious visitors from around the world tour the island each year. Sadly, during a tour on December 9th, a violent eruption of ash, rock, steaming water, gas, and boulders spewed out, injuring many people and killing at least eight. The site has been declared too dangerous even for rescue crews. As hospitals treat the victims, one type of donation is playing a key role: skin. Skin donations are extremely important in tragedies like this because burn victims need quick skin grafts to prevent infections.