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White Island actively emitting ash

The view from the GNS crater camera on Whakaari. Image: GeoNet.

Persistent ash emissions from Whakaari/White Island are unlikely to make ground fall but are consistent with moderate levels of unrest. 

The weak ash emissions have been occurring a since early yesterday but the Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2. 

GNS duty volcanologist Agnes Mazot says the  ash as been observed from the active vent area at Whakaari by the web camera.  

It has not been clearly visible in camera images from Whakatane, until recently when images became hazy. she says. 

“Satellite images indicate a weak ash plume has now reached the area above the Bay of Plenty coast,” says Agnes. 

“Any impact on the ground is unlikely, but traces of ash could be detected on surfaces.” 

This weak ashing phase is a continuation of the short episodes observed over the past few weeks, she says  

“Yesterday’s were more sustained through time, and due to the northerly wind direction, traces of ash are being transported toward the Bay of Plenty.” 

The seismic activity at the volcano has been minor with low level of tremor. There is no relationship between the ash emission and the seismic activity, says Agnes. 

Webcam images continue to show night glow, suggesting that temperatures in the active vent area probably remain around 500-600°C, consistent with recent observations, she says. 

Satellite images from MetService show the volcanic ash going toward the Bay of Plenty coast.  “This ash plume is unlikely to create any ashfall on the ground.” 

Agnes says equipment that provides real-time monitoring on the island is currently degraded and GNS are continuing to work on restoration options. 

The current level of activity is consistent with moderate levels of unrest, says Agnes, so the Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2 and the Aviation Colour Code remains at Yellow. 

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