Earthquake activity near Whakaari/White Island decreases

Published: Tue Jun 4 2019 2:30 PM

The earthquake swarm near Whakaari/White Island which started May 23 continues but has decreased in intensity and numbers. The swarm has not resulted in any increase in volcanic activity or landsliding on island.

Since May 23, 356 earthquakes have been located. 40 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater have occurred to date. The largest three are M3.9, M3.8, and M3.8. The swarm continues to appear tectonic in nature, unrelated to volcanic processes.

No landslides are known to have occurred as a result of this swarm. However, the GeoNet Landslide Duty Officer reports that there is a heightened likelihood of landslides occurring as the earthquakes are shallow, local, and local material is relatively weak. Landslides are also more likely during prolonged periods of heavy rain.

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.

Mike Rosenberg

Duty Volcanologist

Media Contact: Volcanologist Brad Scott (07 3748211)