Whakaari/White Island: Minor-moderate steam and gas emissions continue. Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.

Published: Mon Dec 12 2022 4:10 PM
Volcanic Activity Bulletin
Volcanic Activity BulletinWI – 2022/14
Mon Dec 12 2022 4:10 PM; Whakaari/White Island Volcano
Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2
Aviation Colour Code remains at Yellow

An observation-gas flight confirms the active vents are continuing to emit a minor-moderate steam and gas plume. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2.

On 6 December 2022, GNS Science volcanologists completed a gas and observation flight. They observed the normal minor-moderate gas and steam plume at the island, which is originating from several sources behind the crater lake.

The observation-gas flight measured a low discharge rate of sulphur dioxide (SO2) of 273 ± 11 tonnes/day and 787± 178 tonnes/day of carbon dioxide (CO2). These outputs have not changed substantially from the 14 October levels.

Our observations have confirmed a lowering of the lake level on the island. Our North Rim web camera remains obscured. Our previous Volcanic Activity Bulletin in October mentioned rare observations of ash emission from Whakaari. There have not been any observations that support continued ash emission or other eruptive activity.

View of the active vent area producing moderate steam and gas emission, December 6.

View of the active vent area producing moderate steam and gas emission, December 6.

The VAL remains at Level 2 (moderate to heightened unrest) and the Aviation Colour Code remains at Yellow, acknowledging the current level of activity, but also continuing to acknowledge the greater level of uncertainty in our interpretation due to the current lack of consistent, useful real-time data.

As the weather allows, we will continue the frequent gas and observation flights over the island until we can service our on-island equipment and power supplies. We have access to webcam images from the island which are greatly obscured by wind-blown muddy ash, but still provide some level of visual monitoring between our flights.

The Volcanic Alert Level reflects the current level of volcanic unrest or activity and is not a forecast of future activity. While Volcanic Alert Level 2 is mostly associated with volcanic unrest hazards (including discharge of steam and hot volcanic gases, earthquakes, landslides, and hydrothermal activity), potential for eruption hazards also exists and eruptions can still occur with little or no warning.

Further information about the Volcanic Alert Levels and what they mean can be found here.

GNS Science’s National Geohazards Monitoring Centre and Volcano Monitoring Group, through the GeoNet programme, continue to monitor Whakaari/White Island for further changes in unrest.

Cameron Asher

Duty Volcanologist

Media Contact: 021 574541 or