Whakaari/White Island eruption: Update #7

Published: Thu Dec 12 2019 5:30 PM

Volcanic Alert BulletinWI – 2019/19
Thu Dec 12 2019 5:00 PM; Whakaari/White Island Volcano
Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2
Aviation Colour Code remains at Orange

Volcanic tremor remains high, however no further eruptions have occurred since Monday 9 December. There is a medium likelihood (50-60%) of future eruptive activity in the next 24 hours. 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. In the last few hours, volcanic tremor has decreased but it is still very high compared to normal levels. Vigorous steam and mud bursts continue from the active vent area.

The combined interpretation of our data is that magma is degassing at shallow depths and the situation remains highly volatile.

Another gas flight was completed today, and the data is currently being analysed to support our ongoing understanding of the volcano.

There is still a medium likelihood (50-60%) of eruptive activity in the next 24 hours. We have updated the eruption probability table.

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

Our monitoring equipment continues to function and is providing us with continuous data on the volcano’s activity.

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.

Geoff Kilgour

Duty Volcanologist

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