Phreatic eruption at White island

Following a significant phreatic eruption at Whakaari (White Island) on Friday, the volcano has continued to show increased activity, with several smaller steam eruptions occurring on Saturday. These eruptions produced geyser-like fountains of volcanic sediments and crater lake water. As a result, the volcano’s alert status has been elevated to “orange” due to the potential threat of larger explosions, which could impact air traffic. Although no major eruptions have occurred yet, the activity is reminiscent of the prelude to previous eruptions.

Whakaari Volcano Activity Summary over last days:

Cloud cover on Sunday limited visibility, leaving GNS volcanologists uncertain about further phreatic eruptions. On Monday, researchers conducted an observation flight over the volcano, capturing photos and videos that revealed significant changes in the crater lake’s morphology and a drop in its water level. Gas emissions were also measured during the flight for further analysis.

The volcanic unrest persists, with typical steam and gas emissions occasionally visible via live cam when conditions are clear. The alert level remains at 3. GNS volcanologists suggest that Whakaari may be entering an eruptive phase characterized by intermittent energetic steam and gas emissions, potentially including small amounts of volcanic ash. While there’s no clear evidence suggesting significantly more violent eruptions, such an escalation could happen unexpectedly.

If eruptions intensify and release volcanic ash, it could affect land areas depending on wind direction. However, ash from Whakaari has rarely reached the coast in the past 30-40 years. Since tourists have not visited White Island since the 2019 disaster, the risk to people is currently low.