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White Island volcanic activity lessens

White Island volcanic activity lessens

Date/time: 20 August 2013; 4:30pm, Release No 2

Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group is continuing to monitor White Island following a small eruption earlier today.

The Alert status remains at 2, and the Aviation Colour Code has been lowered to Orange from Red.

The small eruption occurred at 10:23, continued for about 10 minutes and was visible from the Bay of Plenty coast with a plume rising to about 4 km above sea level before slowly dispersing.

Activity has now returned to normal. The eruption originated in the active crater area that has been experiencing very small mud eruptions in recent weeks. The eruption threw mud and rocks a short distance from the source, and produced large volumes of white steam. Weather radar observations show that a small proportion of volcanic ash was carried with the steam.

White Island has been experiencing low level activity since August 2012, so an eruption like that this morning was not completely unexpected. Volcanologists observed a short period of strong volcanic tremor yesterday morning, but it is not clear if this was related to this morning's eruption.

Group Controller, Bay of Plenty Civil Defence Emergency Management Group, Clinton Naude said hazards from an eruption like this morning’s were restricted to anyone actually on White Island, or possibly anchored nearby in a boat. Anyone living in the Bay of Plenty was not at risk, he said.

"Civil Defence urges you to take the latest information into careful consideration when making the decision to visit White Island,” Mr Naude said.

GNS Science Duty Volcanologist Nico Fournier said it was too soon to predict activity in the next few days.

“Given the low level of activity over the last year, we are watching carefully and would not be surprised if there were further eruptions in the next few days,” he said.

A further update will be issued on Wednesday morning unless there is a substantial change in activity before then.

Ends

For up to date information, please view the latest Volcanic alert bulletin (http://info.geonet.org.nz/display/home/Latest+News)

Changes to the status will also be posted on the Group’s website www.bopcivildefence.govt.nz.


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