seismic unrest continues at generally low levels / VolcanoDiscovery

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White Island volcano

White Island in the Bay of Plenty ca. 50 km off the North Island’s east coast is one of New Zealands most active volcanoes, well known for its spectacular crater with strong hydrothermal activity and sulphur deposits. It is part of the active Taupo volcanic zone and last erupted in 2001 (phreatic explosion).

stratovolcano 321 m / 1,053 ft
New Zealand, -37.52°S / 177.18°E
Current status: normal or dormant (1 out of 5)

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White Island volcano eruptions:
2019, 2016, 2013, 2012, 2001, 1998-2000, 1998, 1995, 1986-94, 1983-84, 1976-82, 1974, 1971, 1971, 1970, 1969, 1968-69, 1966-67, 1962, 1959, 1958, 1957, 1955, 1947, 1933, 1930, 1928, 1926, 1924, 1922, 1909, 1908 (?), 1886?,1886, 1885 (?), 1885, 1856 (?), 1836, 1826
Typical eruption style:
Explosive (in historic time: frequent small phreatic and phreatomagmatic eruptions)

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Latest news & updates from White Island

White Island volcano (New Zealand): seismic unrest continues at generally low levels

Wednesday Sep 16, 2020 06:47 AM | BY: MARTIN

Gas emissions from White Island volcano today (image: GeoNet)

Gas emissions from White Island volcano today (image: GeoNet)

GeoNet reported that volcanologists did a three gas flight observations and one observation flight over the last 6 weeks.

Results from the gas flights indicate that magma beneath the volcano still degasses at high rates. The vent system above the magma appears to be open, allowing the gas to escape relatively unobstructed. During fine weather conditions this will generate moderate to large gas-steam plumes above the island.

Thermal infrared images from the active vent area, taken during the observation flight, remain high at around 440 °C, about 100 °C less than those measured in July. Within the measurement uncertainty, this is consistent with a slowly cooling active vent area. Some of the primary gas vents continue to slowly enlarge. Rainfall events have ponded water on the crater floor forming a lakelet. Minor areas of gassing and heating can be seen in the lakelet.

Ground deformation data from satellite measurements over the past 6 weeks indicate continued subsidence around the active vent area as well as ongoing subsidence of the Main Crater wall, south and west of the 2019 active vents.

Tremor has not shown significant variations, seismicity remains generally low since the last update.

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 remains at Level 1.

Source: GeoNet New Zealand volcano activity update 16 September 2020

Previous news

Wednesday, Jun 24, 2020

GeoNet’s latest volcanic alert bulletin has changed the Aviation Colour Code to Green for Whakaari/White Island. This is a result of a “continuously decreasing level of volcanic activity”. This change in Aviation Colour Code comes a week after the Volcanic Alert Level was dropped to level 1 … read all

Tuesday, Jun 16, 2020

Glow visible at night from White Island volcano (image: GeoNet)
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. … read all

Wednesday, Jun 10, 2020

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. … read all

Friday, May 29, 2020

Glow visible at night from White Island volcano (image: GeoNet)
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

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