Update on minor eruptions at Whakaari/White Island


28 May 2024

Whakaari 27 May 2024

Since, Friday 24 May we have observed three gas-driven eruptions at Whakaari/White Island. We take a closer look at what has happened and what may happen next.

Timeline of Activity

Friday 24 May

The first observed eruption was on Friday 24 May at 08:20 am. This was captured by our Whakatāne based camera. We observed a steam and gas plume rising between 2-3km above the island.

In response to this activity the Volcanic Alert Level(external link) was raised from VAL2 to VAL3, which means a minor volcanic eruption has occurred.

An observation flight in the afternoon confirmed geysering activity was stronger than what our scientists had seen in the last few months, regularly ejecting material 20-30 m high for several seconds. These observations suggested that the eruption on Friday was most likely steam-gas driven, and there were no indications of fresh magma being close to the surface. With no evidence of further eruptions since that morning, the Volcanic Alert Level returned to VAL2.

Watch: Video of eruption on 24 May(external link)

Saturday 25 May

At 08:10 am on Saturday there was more minor volcanic activity with a steam-gas plume seen above the island. Footage from our Whakatāne volcano web camera captured this activity and confirmed, minor volcanic eruptive activity with intermittent energetic ejections of steam and gas was again occurring. Activity at the volcano seemed to remain high and at around midday on Saturday, we observed another short-lived eruption. The Volcanic Alert Level was again raised to Level 3 to indicate a minor volcanic eruption has occurred.

Sunday 26 May

Throughout Sunday, the activity appeared to be quite limited, however views of the island were periodically hampered due to cloud. It is difficult to determine if or when further eruptions occurred on Sunday.

Monday 27 May

A gas flight today provided a chance for our scientists to see into the active crater. Photos and video show that the crater lake has changed significantly due to the eruptive activity. The vent area appears to have been modified and the crater lake has dropped in height. During the flight, we were able to measure the gas emissions and will analysis these.

The volcanic unrest has continued, and we are intermittently seeing the more typical steam and gas emissions when views are clear. The Volcanic Alert Level remains at 3.

Watch: Video of gas flight on 26 May(external link)

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