White Island volcanic activity level increases after eruption

GNS Science has raised Whakaari/White Island’s volcanic activity level to 3 after an eruption today.

A Bay of Plenty Emergency Management spokesperson says there is no risk to people on the ground; The main potential danger for the continent is ash fall, which does not appear to have been generated.

But the spokesperson says ashfall safety tips and other information have been posted through public channels and shared with local media.

In consultation with the BOPRC Harbormaster, he is advising all vessels to avoid the waters around Whakaari White Island until further notice.

The spokesperson says there is nothing to see and people are at risk of harm if a new eruption occurs.

There may also be falling debris and ash in the area around the island.

MetService and GNS Science will monitor the area.

“The minor eruption occurred at 8:20 in the morning and was seen as a vigorous plume of steam over the island,” said GNS Science volcanologist Yannik Behr.

Witnesses have described smoke rising from the island.

A resident near the island told RNZ that a “good eruption” was occurring with “large plumes of smoke and ash.”

A deadly eruption of the volcano killed 22 people and injured 25 others in 2019.

The tragedy was followed by a lengthy legal process that resulted in the conviction of the company that manages the privately owned island, Whakaari Management. Six other parties pleaded guilty and six had their charges dismissed.