Latest news & updates from White Island
White Island volcano (New Zealand): decreased gas flux
Wednesday Jun 10, 2020 08:50 AM | BY: MARTIN
Gas emissions from White Island volcano today (image: GeoNet)GeoNet volcanologists did a flight observations and aerial-based measurements over Whakaari/White Island in the past week. The observation flight showed continued high heat flow in the crater, while other activity largely remains within the range observed over the past few months.
Results from the gas flight on 3 June 2020 show a decline in gas flux from the high levels recorded on a previous flight on 28 May, suggesting that the increased gas flux was short-lived. Gas flux increases are attributed to the intrusion of a new batch of the magma at shallow depth beneath the volcano. This short gas pulse serves as a reminder that the volcano is still in an elevated state of unrest with shallow magma present.
Satellite-based measurements of ground deformation show the ground around the active vent area has overall subsided by several centimetres since the December 2019 eruption. However, the most recent data from last week showed a small, localised inflation in the vent area, most likely related to the observed increased gas flux.
Thermal infrared images show that the lava lobes are still very hot, at around 450 °C. Recent rainfall has increased the steam emissions and some water has ponded on the crater floor.
Tremor has not shown significant variations, although overall tremor levels remain low and within background levels for the volcano.
An eruption could occur with little precursory activity and could cause the collapse of unstable material around the vents, sudden release of gas from the magma, and the rapid ingress of water onto the shallow magma body.
The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.
Source: GeoNet New Zealand volcano activity update 10 June 2020
Friday, May 29, 2020
GeoNet volcanologists did a flight observations and aerial-based measurements of the volcano. Results from the most recent gas flight on 27 May indicate an increased gas flux since the previous flight on 20 May. While previous observations indicated a trend back to levels that are typical for this volcano, the recent increase in SO2 and CO2 gas flux, could be attributed to a new batch of the magma beneath the volcano at shallow depth. Thermal infrared images, taken during the observation flight on 20 May, show that the lava extrusions, first detected in early January, are still very hot, at around 500 °C. Hot gases that are being emitted around these lava lobes generate a glow that can be seen on webcam images. ... [more]
Sunday, Apr 19, 2020
The volcano continues to emit SO2 gas, which is derived from magma at shallow depth beneath the surface and is one of the main indicators of volcanic unrest. Since the last update, there have been no significant changes in SO2 output. Emission rates for other gases were not measured due the lockdown from COVID-19. Seismic activity remains at lower levels and continues to fluctuate over periods of hours or days. ... [more]
Tuesday, Mar 10, 2020
GeoNet did a flight observations and aerial-based measurements of the volcano in the past two weeks. The most recent gas flight confirms the overall decline in both CO2 and SO2 output since the 9 December 2019 eruption, although latest data shows slightly elevated amounts of gas compared to recent measurements. ... [more]
Wednesday, Feb 19, 2020
GeoNet did a gas flight that confirms the steady decline in both CO2 and SO2 flux since the eruption, albeit at slightly elevated levels. The result from this flight is consistent with recent gas measurements and indicates the continued presence of shallow magma beneath the primary vent area. ... [more]
Tuesday, Feb 04, 2020
GeoNet did a visual observation and gas flights last week and confirm no further extrusions of lava has occurred. Gas fluxes are lower than two weeks ago but remain elevated. ... [more]