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Minor volcanic unrest continues at Taupō Volcano, with ongoing earthquakes and ground deformation. The Volcanic Alert Level for Taupō Volcano remains at 1 (minor volcanic unrest).

It has been 15 years since the last eruption at Mt Ruapehu, on 25 September 2007. Today we look back at this small gas driven eruption at one of New Zealand’s favourite volcanoes.

Today we announced that the Volcanic Alert Level at Taupō Volcano has been raised to Level 1. GNS Science Volcanology Team Leader Nico Fournier gives us an update on the current volcanic activity at Taupō and explains this change.

The Volcanic Alert Level for Taupō Volcano is raised to Volcanic Alert Level 1 (minor volcanic unrest). The minor volcanic unrest is causing the ongoing earthquakes and ground deformation at Taupō Volcano.

Web camera images from Whakaari/White Island showed minor ash emission occurred in the crater on Sunday 18 September 2022. Ash was not observed beyond the island, but the overall steam plume could be seen from the Bay of Plenty coast. A strong SO2 gas signal associated with that plume was also detected by satellite on Sunday. No significant ash was observed today and the Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2.

Back in February, we made a tweak to the name of our Volcano bulletins - from Volcanic Alert Bulletin to Volcanic Activity Bulletin. We did this because we think it better reflects the purpose of these bulletins, which go across a variety of topics not just alert level changes.

The earthquake sequence beneath Lake Taupō continues, now including a magnitude 4.2 event at 6.36 am on Saturday 10 September 2022 – the largest earthquake in the area to date this year. The earthquake was located on the east side of the lake at a depth of approximately 5 km and was widely felt locally. The Volcanic Alert Level for Taupō Volcanic Centre remains at Level 0.

Today we raised the Volcanic Alert Level at Whakaari/White Island to Level 2 due to increased uncertainty caused by loss of real-time monitoring capability. We take a deeper look into what this means.

The recent loss of access to continuous data from Whakaari/White Island means we are effectively unable to distinguish in near real-time between VAL 1 (minor volcanic unrest) and VAL 2 (moderate to heightened unrest). As a result, the Volcanic Alert Level for Whakaari/White Island has been raised to Level 2, not as an indication of a noticed increase in volcanic activity, but as a reflection of the increased level of uncertainty in our interpretation due to the current lack of real-time data.

Hundreds of damaging landslides have been reported across the country following prolonged rainfall last week. The impacts of this event have been most severe in the Nelson Tasman and Marlborough region. As the scale of damage in the Nelson Tasman Regions began to emerge, a landslide event response team from GNS Science was deployed to Nelson.