Local earthquake swarm near Whakaari/White Island

Published: Sun May 26 2019 8:40 AM

A local earthquake swarm near Whakaari/White Island started on Thursday. Over the past 24 hours the rate and magnitude of earthquakes has increased. The swarm does not appear to be linked to volcanic unrest but may result in increased landslide risk on island.

Since Thursday, 196 earthquakes have been located. 22 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater have occurred in the last 24 hours, and the largest three are M3.9, M3.8, and M3.8. The swarm appears to be tectonic in nature, unrelated to volcanic processes.

The GeoNet Landslide Duty Officer reports there may be a heightened risk of landslides as the earthquakes are shallow, local, and local material is relatively weak.

There are no changes in volcano monitoring parameters or the level of volcanic activity at Whakaari/White Island. Our observations are consistent with minor volcanic unrest and the Volcanic Alert Level remains at 1 while the Aviation Colour Code stays at Green.

While Volcano Alert Level 1 is mostly associated with environmental hazards, eruptions can still occur with little or no warning. GNS Science continues to closely monitor Whakaari/White Island and our other active volcanoes. There is no further Volcanic Alert Bulletin planned at this stage.

Natalia Deligne

Duty Volcanologist

Media Contact: Brad Scott (07 374 8211)