Whakaari/White Island eruption: Update #8

Published: Fri Dec 13 2019 11:05 AM

Volcanic Alert BulletinWI – 2019/20
Fri Dec 13 2019 11:00 AM; White Island Volcano
Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2
Aviation Colour Code remains at Orange

The level of volcanic tremor remains high but has declined overnight. No further eruptions have occurred since Monday 9 December. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.

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

Since the eruption on Monday, there has been no further eruptive activity. Overnight the level of volcanic tremor has dropped, but remains very high compared to pre-eruption levels.

Results from a gas flight on Thursday afternoon (12 December) show levels of volcanic gases emitted from the volcano have increased from those measured on Tuesday (10 December).

Vigorous steam and mud bursts and jetting continue from the active vent area. The combined interpretation of all our data is that magma is degassing at shallow depths and the situation remains highly volatile.

We are updating the eruption probability tabletable, and this will be published on the GeoNet website later this morning.

Some monitoring equipment is partially buried under ash and may stop functioning over the weekend as batteries run out. However, we are still receiving data from the remaining equipment which allows us to monitor the volcano.

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

The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.

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 2 indicates moderate to heightened unrest with potential for eruption hazards.

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: 021 574 541 or media@gns.cri.nz