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Nearly 200 earthquakes in 24 hours

Whakaari/White Island. Photo: Geonet

An earthquake swarm of nearly 200 earthquakes near Whakaari/White Island started on Thursday.

Over the past 24 hours the rate and magnitude of earthquakes has increased. The swarm does not appear to be linked to volcanic unrest but may result in increased landslide risk on island.

Duty Volcanologist Natalia Deligne says that since Thursday, 196 earthquakes have occurred with 22 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater happening in the last 24 hours. The largest of these were magnitude 3.9, 3.8, and 3.8.

Natalia says the swarm appears to be tectonic in nature, and unrelated to volcanic processes.

There may be a heightened risk of landslides as the earthquakes are shallow and local, and the local material is relatively weak.

There are no changes in volcano monitoring parameters or the level of volcanic activity at Whakaari/White Island. Observations are consistent with minor volcanic unrest and the Volcanic Alert Level remains at level 1 while the Aviation Colour Code stays at Green.

While Volcano Alert Level 1 is mostly associated with environmental hazards, eruptions can still occur with little or no warning.

GNS Science continues to closely monitor Whakaari/White Island and NZ’s other active volcanoes.

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