White Island earthquake activity decreasing

The earthquake swarm near Whakaari/White Island which started May 23 is decreasing in activity.

GeoNet duty volcanologist Mike Rosenberg says the swarm has not resulted in any increase in volcanic activity or landsliding on island.

"Since May 23, 356 earthquakes have been located. 40 earthquakes of magnitude 3 or greater have occurred to date.

"The largest three are M3.9, M3.8, and M3.8. The swarm continues to appear tectonic in nature, unrelated to volcanic processes."

No landslides are known to have occurred as a result of this swarm, says Mike.

However, the GeoNet Landslide Duty Officer reports that there is a heightened likelihood of landslides occurring as the earthquakes are shallow, local, and local material is relatively weak. Landslides are also more likely during prolonged periods of heavy rain.

"There are no changes in volcano monitoring parameters or the level of volcanic activity at Whakaari/White Island.

"Our observations are consistent with minor volcanic unrest and the Volcanic Alert Level remains at 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 our other active volcanoes.

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