Whakaari/White Island: Volcanic Alert Level lowered to Level 1, minor volcanic unrest continues

Published: Mon Apr 4 2022 3:15 PM

Volcanic Activity BulletinWI – 2022/05
Mon Apr 4 2022 3:00 PM; Whakaari/White Island Volcano
Volcanic Alert Level is lowered to 1
Aviation Colour Code is lowered to Green

Based on the slowly decreasing level of volcanic activity and confirmation that the recently observed ash emissions have ceased, the Volcanic Alert Level for Whakaari/White Island is now lowered to Level 1. The Aviation Colour Code is also changed to Green.

Observations and monitoring data over the past two months at Whakaari/White Island have been progressively trending back to lower levels of unrest that are typical of the long-term behaviour for the volcano. The decision to lower the Volcanic Alert Level to Level 1 is not based on changes in a single data set, but on the GNS Science Volcano Monitoring Group’s collective interpretation of all the monitoring data and their trends over the past two months. The data sets considered in our interpretation include observations from observation flights, web cameras, gas data, vent temperatures, ground deformation, and seismic activity.

The temperature of the emitted gas and steam remains elevated, but has declined to below 300 °C. Discharge rates of sulphur dioxide (SO2), hydrogen sulphide (H2S) and carbon dioxide (CO2) gases are at, or below, longer-term trends, as are ground deformation and seismic activity. Minor or dilute ash emission has not been observed since late February 2022.

Taken together, these observations and the downward trends of key data sets over the past two months are consistent with low levels of unrest. As such the Volcanic Alert Level is lowered to Level 1 and the Aviation Colour Code is changed to Green.

The Volcanic Alert Level reflects the current level of volcanic unrest or activity and is not a forecast of future activity. Volcanic Alert Level 1 indicates the primary hazards are those expected during volcanic unrest; steam discharge, volcanic gas, earthquakes, landslides and hydrothermal activity. While Volcano Alert Level 1 is mostly associated with environmental hazards, potential for eruption hazards also exists and eruptions can still occur with little or no warning.

Further information about the Volcanic Alert Levels and what they mean can be found here.

As noted previously, our on-island equipment has degraded over the past two years. However, recent improvements of the transmission of data means that some of the data is more continuous and more complete than it has been recently.

GNS Science and its National Geohazards Monitoring Centre continue to monitor Whakaari/White Island for further changes in unrest.

Yannik Behr

Duty Volcanologist

Media Contact: 021 574541 or media@gns.cri.nz

Footnote:

You might notice we've made a tweak to the name of these bulletins - from Volcanic Alert Bulletin to Volcanic Activity Bulletin. We've done this because we think it better reflects the purpose of these bulletins, which can also include more general updates. Any queries, please let us know (media@gns.cri.nz)