Whakaari/White Island activity and warnings

It has always been known that Whakaari (Te Puia o Whakaari – The Dramatic Volcano”) is at risk of erupting.

In 1914 ten miners were killed when part of the crater collapsed.

Activity over the last few decades (Wikipedia):

  • Major eruptions in 1981–83 altered much of the island’s landscape and destroyed the extensive pōhutukawa forest. The large crater created at that time now contains a lake, whose level varies substantially.
  • In March 2000, three small vents appeared in the main crater and began belching ash which covered the island in fine grey powder.
  • An eruption on 27 July 2000 blanketed the island with mud and scoria and a new crater appeared.
  • Between July and August 2012 Whakaari / White Island showed signs of increased activity with lake and gas levels rising from inside the crater.
  • On 5 August 2012 a minor eruption occurred.
  • Ongoing volcanic activity and tremors on 25 January 2013 suggested another eruption was imminent. A small eruption occurred on 20 August 2013 at 10.23 am, lasting for ten minutes and producing mostly steam

Volcanic Alert Bulletins over the last few months (Geonet):

Whakaari/White Island Volcanic Alert Level raised to Level 2.

26 June 2019

Whakaari/White Island is experiencing moderate volcanic unrest and the Volcanic Alert Level is raised to Level 2.

Whakaari/White Island Volcanic Alert Level lowered to 1

1 July 2019

Whakaari/White Island shows lower level of gas emissions and the Volcanic Alert Level is lowered to 1.

Whakaari/White Island steam-driven activity increases

26 September 2019

Small, muddy, geyser-like explosions are occurring in the active crater at Whakaari/White Island due to a rising crater lake drowning the active vents. This geysering poses no risk to visitors. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 1.

Whakaari/White Island steam-driven activity increases

30 October 2019

Small, muddy, geyser-like explosions are occurring in the active crater at Whakaari/White Island due to a rising crater lake drowning the active vents. This geysering poses no risk to visitors. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 1.

Whakaari/White Island: Background activity increases further

18 November 2019

Volcanic unrest continues at Whakaari/White Island and some monitored parameters show further increases in activity. Hazards on the island are now greater than during the past few weeks, and the Volcanic Alert Level is raised to Level 2.

Whakaari/White Island: Moderate volcanic unrest continues

25 November 2019

Moderate volcanic unrest continues at Whakaari/White Island, but no new changes are observed in the monitored parameters. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 2.

Whakaari/White Island: Moderate volcanic unrest continues

3 December 2019

Moderate volcanic unrest continues at Whakaari/White Island, with substantial gas, steam and mud bursts observed at the vent located at the back of the crater lake. Other monitoring parameters remain elevated and the Volcanic Alert Level stays at Level 2.

Eruption occurred at White Island

9 December 2019

An eruption has just occurred at White Island.