Ash emission has reduced at Whakaari/White Island. Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.

Published: Tue Dec 1 2020 2:30 PM

Volcanic Alert BulletinWI – 2020/16
Tue Dec 1 2020 2:20 PM; Whakaari/White Island Volcano
Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2
Aviation Colour Code remains at Yellow

Camera images from Whakaari/White Island appear to show that ash is no longer present in the near-persistent steam and gas plume. The amounts of CO2 and SO2 gas remain elevated. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.

Over the past three weeks, ash has been emitted from the main vent at the back of the lake at Whakaari/White Island. Based on camera footage, aerial observations and gas measurement flights, the amount of ash in the plume appears to have diminished over the last week. This is consistent with the lack of ash being detected on recent MetService satellite images. The plume is now back to its light colour, composed of steam and volcanic gas, with little to no ash. There remains some uncertainty in this observation due to some ash coating the camera lenses, contributing to a slightly blurred image.

Gas-measuring and observation flights will be attempted this week to confirm these observations and determine if the amount of volcanic gases has changed in the current plume. The most recent gas flights found that the main volcanic gases (CO2 and SO2) were elevated above normal levels.

The last two weeks has seen the number of discrete volcanic earthquakes reduce to low levels, with no further earthquakes since our last bulletin on Tuesday 17 November 2020. Volcanic tremor remains weak.

Whakaari/White Island remains in a period of heightened unrest. As a result, the Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2 and the Aviation Colour Code remains at Yellow.

The Volcanic Alert Level reflects the current level of volcanic unrest or activity and is not a forecast of future activity. Volcanic Alert Level 2 indicates the primary hazards are those expected during volcanic unrest; discharge of steam and volcanic gas, earthquakes, landslides and hydrothermal activity. While Volcano Alert Level 2 is mostly associated with environmental hazards, eruptions can still occur with little or no warning.

GNS Science and our National Geohazards Monitoring Centre continuously monitor Whakaari/White Island for changes in activity. Further updates will be provided as needed.

Geoff Kilgour Duty Volcanologist

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