About White Island
White Island is New Zealand’s most continuously active and largest volcano by volume. It is an uninhabited island about 2 km in diameter and 48 km from the coast of the Bay of Plenty. It marks the northern end of the Taupo Volcanic Zone.
Although 70% of the cone is under the sea, the highest point reaches 321m altitude. Most of the island is occupied by the Main Crater, with the crater floor being less than 30m above sea level.
White Island has been active for at least 150,000 years, It is a stratovolcano, (composite cone volcano) made of layers of andesite lava flows and pyroclastic deposits (tephra). Since human settlement in New Zealand there has been continual low level activity and small eruptions.
From 1975 until 2001 there were frequent small eruptions making this the island’s most active period in hundreds of years. Ash and gas plumes rose as high as 10km, lava bombs and blocks were thrown into the sea and occasionally the glow of red hot rock was visible at night from the Bay of Plenty coast.
Before 2012, the last previous activity was in 1999-2001