Minor volcanic unrest continues at Taupō Volcano after an M4.4 earthquake beneath the lake on 5 March. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at 1 (minor volcanic unrest).
On Sunday 5 March 2023, GeoNet recorded an M4.4 earthquake beneath Lake Taupō. The earthquake rupture occurred within 10 km of the surface and shaking was felt mostly along the lake shore. So far, more than 20 aftershocks have been located.
The number of earthquakes per week has been declining since November, but we have seen a slight increase prior to Sunday’s quake (Figure 1). We also noticed a small signal on our newly installed tsunami sensors in the lake at the time of the earthquake, but more analysis is required to find out its cause.
The recent number and size of earthquakes, including the M4.4 event, is within our expectations for a volcano at minor volcanic unrest. This is confirmed by our other observations to date which show continuous activity, but no significant changes compared to the previous months of unrest. We also did not notice any changes in volcano monitoring indicators following the M4.4 earthquake. Therefore, the Volcanic Alert Level remains at 1 at Taupō volcano, and the Aviation Colour Code at green
GNS Science continues to actively monitor the volcano and engage with national and international experts to provide the best possible interpretation of our monitoring data.
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 1 is mostly associated with environmental hazards, potential for eruption hazards also exists. Further information about the Volcanic Alert Levels and what they mean can be found here. More information about caldera unrest can be accessed from this report.
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The Tūwharetoa Māori Trust Board (CEO Rakeipoho Taiaroa) is closely involved in discussions as the landowner of Lake Taupō. More information about the Trust can be found at https://www.tuwharetoa.co.nz/.
Although we can’t prevent natural hazards, we can prepare for them – and we should.
Know what warning signs to look out for, so you can act quickly. Drop, Cover, and Hold during a large earthquake. If it is Long and Strong, Get Gone! People near the lake front should move to higher ground as soon as it is safe to do so, especially if they hear loud noises or see unusual lake action during earthquake activity.
For information on preparing for earthquakes or responding to volcanic activity, there are guidelines from the National Emergency Management Agency's (NEMA) Get Ready website.
Prepare your home. Protect your whānau.
There’s a lot we can do to make our homes safer and stronger for earthquakes. Toka Tū Ake EQC’s website has key steps to get you started.