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Whakaari/White Island volcanic alert level reduced after eruption

Whakaari/White Island has had its alert level reduced to two after a minor volcanic eruption raised alert levels to three temporarily.

Following today’s minor eruption, GNS Science volcanologists conducted an “observation flight” this afternoon to establish the status of the volcano.

“Two of our volcanologists took an observation flight around the island this afternoon and noted that the volcano is not currently erupting, there is no new activity since this morning and observed a thin green deposit on the outside of the crater wall indicating that there had been an eruption,” GeoNet said.

“(Having found) no evidence of new eruptions since this morning, the volcanic alert level returned to VAL2,” which is where the volcano was on the alert scale before Friday morning’s eruption.

A follow-up flight is planned for Monday, “in case of any signs of unrest or increased activity.”

Minor volcanic eruption

GNS Science volcanologist Yannik Behr previously said a “vigorous” plume of vapor was observed over the island around 8:20 a.m. on Friday.

“Since we have no sensors on the island, we rely on webcams and satellite images to assess the situation.”

Whakaari/White Island seen erupting at 7.20am on 24 May 2024.

The limited information meant there was no clear indication whether there was ash in the plume, he said.

“If there was, it would be unlikely to reach the mainland under current wind conditions.”

The aviation color code was raised to orange, meaning a volcanic eruption was occurring with little or no ash emission.

Behr said the plume over the island has returned to more normal levels.

An eruption of the volcano in 2019 killed 22 people and injured 25 others.

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