Published: Thu Apr 28 2016 6:45 PM
Based on new observations, the Volcanic Alert Level for White Island has been lowered to 2 from 3. This indicates that the volcano is not erupting anymore but remains in a state of moderate to heightened unrest. The Aviation Colour Code remains at Orange.
An eruption occurred at White Island at about 9:50 pm yesterday (Wednesday, 27 April 2016). No further eruptive activity has been observed since yesterday evening. Seismic activity remains low and new gas emission data for today show a SO2 (sulphur dioxide) flux level similar to that prior to the eruption. As a consequence of the continued lack of activity since the eruption on Wednesday evening, the Volcanic Alert Level has been lowered to Level 2.
A more precise time for the eruption, about 9.50 pm, has been inferred from a combination of data from yesterday evening’s seismic activity, a MetService rain radar image, and data from a GPS receiver on the island. GNS volcanologists flew over White Island this afternoon to assess the impacts of last night’s eruption. A dark-green ash deposit from the eruption covers at least 80% of the floor of Main Crater, and up the sides of the crater wall on both the north and south sides. At a distance of 500 m from the eruption site the ash deposit is about 5 mm thick. The green colour is due to minerals on the ash.
There is currently no indication that activity may be building up at White Island. However, GNS Science staff will not be visiting the main crater floor until further notice due to the heightened state of volcanic unrest. GNS Science volcanologists are continuing to monitor the volcano 24/7 using existing instrumentation on the island and occasional measurements made from safe distance. Further bulletins will be released as required.
Agnes Mazot Duty Volcanologist