New Zealand's most active volcano, White Island, was in a state of frequent eruption from 1976 to 2000.
Sitting 48 km offshore, White Island (Whakāri) is New Zealand’s most active cone volcano which has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years. About 70 percent of the volcano is under the sea, making this massive volcanic structure the largest in New Zealand.
A sulphur mining venture began on the island in 1885; this was stopped abruptly in 1914 when part of the crater wall collapsed and a landslide destroyed the sulphur mine and miners' village; twelve lives were lost. The remains of buildings from another mining episode in the 1920's era are now a tourist attraction.
Although privately owned, White Island became a private scenic reserve in 1953, and daily tours allow more than 10,000 people to visit White Island every year. GeoNet monitors volcanic activity and visits the island around 10 times a year.
The most recent eruptive episode started in August 2012 with an explosive eruption on 5 August, then a period of ash emissions. This was followed by heating in the Crater Lake and variable phreatic activity in early 2013 which removed the lake. By June the lake was re-established. A further explosive eruption followed on 20 August and again on 11 October 2013. Unrest continues.