Whakaari/White Island eruption: Update #5

Published: Wed Dec 11 2019 5:35 PM

Volcanic Alert BulletinWI – 2019/17
Wed Dec 11 2019 5:30 PM; Whakaari/White Island Volcano
Volcanic Alert Level remains at 3
Aviation Colour Code remains at Orange

The level of volcanic tremor continues to rise and there is medium likelihood of future eruptive activity in the next 24 hours. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 3.

An eruption occurred at Whakaari/White Island at 2:11pm on Monday 9 December, unfortunately with tragic consequences. We express our ongoing sympathies with those families that continue to be affected.

Since our morning bulletin the level of volcanic tremor has continued to rise and is now at the highest level seen since the 2016 eruption.

Our interpretation of all our monitoring data to date, including yesterday’s gas flight is that shallow magma within the volcano is driving the tremor, gas flux, and jetting activity observed in the craters created during the eruption.

Earlier today we conducted an expert judgement and the result is that there is a medium likelihood (40-60% chance) of a future eruption within the next 24 hours.

There is an extremely low likelihood of any potential ash affecting the mainland, but people may smell gas, depending on the prevailing wind direction.

Our monitoring equipment continues to function and is providing us with continuous data on the volcano’s activity.

The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 3.

The Aviation Colour Code remains at Orange.

GNS Science and our National Geohazards Monitoring Centre continue to closely monitor Whakaari/White Island for further signs of activity. Volcanic Alert Level 3 indicates a minor local eruption is in progress.

Enquiries related to the emergency response should be directed to National Emergency Management Authority (NEMA – www.civildefence.govt.nz).

More information will be made available within the next 24 hours, or sooner if required.

Craig Miller

Duty Volcanologist

Media Contact: 07 – 374 8211 or media@gns.cri.nz