Latest news & updates from White Island
White Island volcano (New Zealand): Volcanic Alert Level lowered to Level 1; seismic unrest continues
Tuesday Jun 16, 2020 08:36 AM | BY: MARTIN
Observations and monitoring data over the last few months indicate that Whakaari/White Island has been progressing on a gradual trend back to lower levels of unrest that are typical of the long-term behaviour of this volcano.
Glow visible at night from White Island volcano (image: GeoNet)
The data sets considered in interpretation include discharge rate of sulphur dioxide (SO2) and carbon dioxide (CO2) gases, seismic activity, and the temperature of the discharging gases around the December 2019 eruption vents. While the temperature of the gas vents remains high, over 450 °C some cooling has been observed over the last few months, indicating a slow decline in heat input from depth. The hot gases that are being emitted from gas vents around the December 2019 eruption vents are still sufficiently hot and are generating a glow that continues as can be seen in the webcam.
The gas observations on 12 June show similar rates of gas discharge to observations on 3 June, confirming that the pulse of gas observed in late-May was short-lived.
Changes in ground deformation rate in the vent area indicate that while some magma remains at shallow depth, estimated at about 1 km below the surface, gas discharge and ground deformation are not increasing. Seismic activity has been low since February-March.
The most likely hazards are those expected during lower levels of volcanic unrest; steam discharge, volcanic gases, earthquakes, landslides and hydrothermal activity. While Volcano Alert Level 1 is associated with these environmental hazards, it doesn’t rule out the possibility of eruptions occurring with little or no warning.
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.
Volcanic Alert Level lowered to Level 1.
Source: GeoNet New Zealand volcano activity update 16 June 2020
Wednesday, Jun 10, 2020
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. ... read all
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. ... read all
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. ... read all
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. ... read all
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. ... read all