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News / GeoNet has raised the Volcanic Alert Level at Whakaari/White Island to Level 2

GeoNet has raised the Volcanic Alert Level at Whakaari/White Island to Level 2

GeoNet has raised the Volcanic Alert Level at Whakaari/White Island to Level 2

Posted July 26, 2021
Environmental

GeoNet has raised the Volcanic Alert Level at Whakaari/White Island to Level 2.

Continued heat flow and changes in gas composition indicate increased unrest Duty Volcanologist Yannik says.

Persistent observations of night glow on the web cameras indicate continued emission of high-temperature gases. Continued decline of the carbon dioxide to sulphur dioxide ratio points to ongoing degassing of fresh magma.

Elevated levels of gas emissions continue but the ratio of carbon dioxide to sulphur dioxide has decreased. A more detailed evaluation of this observation supports the presence of magma at shallow depth.

Last week’s observation and thermal infrared (IR) measurement flight reported very hot gas (498 to 654°C) being emitted from some of the vents on the 2019 lava extrusion.

The observation of night glow on web cameras has continued since June 30 and is ongoing.

Tremor and volcano-seismicity has remained low and ground deformation shows an overall pattern of subsidence, with some variability.

There is still large uncertainty about the mechanisms driving the current activity.

Most scenarios are consistent with a slightly increased level of unrest at Whakaari/White Island hence the raised Volcanic Alert Level to 2 (moderate to heightened unrest) and the Aviation Colour Code to Yellow. There are no obvious signs of eruptive activity.

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 2 is mostly associated with volcanic unrest hazards (including discharge of steam and hot volcanic gases, earthquakes, landslides and hydrothermal activity), potential for eruption hazards also exists and eruptions can still occur with little or no warning.