Whakaari/White Island steam-driven activity increases

Published: Thu Sep 26 2019 9:30 AM

Volcanic Alert BulletinVOLCANIC ALERT BULLETIN: WI – 2019/07
Thu Sep 26 2019 9:30 AM; White Island Volcano
Volcanic Alert Level remains at 1
Aviation Colour Code remains at Green

Small, muddy, geyser-like explosions are occurring in the active crater at Whakaari/White Island due to a rising crater lake drowning the active vents. This geysering poses no risk to visitors. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 1.

Over the last three weeks, we have observed small-scale geyser-like explosions of mud and steam in the active vent area. These have reached a maximum height of about 10 metres. They do not pose any hazard to visitors to the island and are not a sign of increasing volcanic activity.

The crater lake level has been rising since early-August. The rising lake level has impacted the surface activity around the active vents on the west side of the crater floor. Geysering-type activity has become established in the main active vent due to hot steam and gas passing through the now drowned active vent area. This geysering activity is not a sign of increasing volcanic activity. Normally the gas and steam would vent directly to the atmosphere, now it’s through the water in the vents and is visible as the geyser-like activity.

Monitored parameters at Whakaari/White Island include earthquake activity, volcanic tremor, gas flux, acoustic signals and visual images from the web cameras. These are complimented by regular soil gas surveys, sampling of springs and gas vents, ground deformation and magnetic surveys.

Recent measurements made on the island and the continuous data show no change in the monitored parameters outside of the expected signals for minor volcanic unrest.

As such the Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 1. There is no change in the Aviation Colour Code: Green.

GNS Science and the National Geohazards Monitoring Centre continues to closely monitor Whakaari/White Island for further signs of activity.

Steve Sherburn

Duty Volcanologist

Media Contact: Volcanologist Brad Scott (07 3748211)