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GNS Science maps show risk levels at White Island still high

Risk assessment maps released by GNS Science (dated 02 and 12 December 2019) show the crater floor of Whakaari/White Island is still a high-risk area, with a further eruption looking increasingly likely.

The maps were released at a National Emergency Management Agency media briefing in Wellington today by GNS Science volcanologist Graham Leonard.

Risk assessments like this are regularly carried out on Whakaari/White Island, and the shaded areas indicate fatality risk decreasing as distance from the crater increases.

“Whakaari/White Island is an active volcano, and the estimated chance of an eruption is increasing every day,” Dr Leonard says.

“Today is less safe than yesterday, and the day before that.

“The red zone shows an area that would be considered a no-go for GNS Science staff, and the yellow zone would only be accessible in exceptional circumstances.

“GNS Science has provided this information to New Zealand Police, to support decision making about the safety of their personnel.”

Dr Leonard says the zones change daily and we will update the map, because Whakaari/White Island is highly volatile.

“This level of volcanic activity is the highest we’ve seen since the eruption in 2016.

“Our monitoring equipment is providing real-time data to the National Geohazards Monitoring Centre at the GNS Science campus in Avalon.

“GNS Science is providing a constant stream of information to the emergency response agencies and the public, and will update this forecast tomorrow – or sooner if there is a dramatic change.”

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