Bay volcano eruption risk over

By Staff reporter

The risk of White Island erupting has dropped, said experts.

GNS Science volcanologists have lowered the Volcanic Alert Level for White Island from 2 to 1, to mark the end of the current period of eruption.

The aviation code has also changed from orange to yellow.

The alert level increased in November when a lava dome in the crater was spotted by tourist operators. Since then the lava dome has been monitored by volcanologists.

GNS Science volcanologist Nico Fournier said the most recent visit, on January 1, showed the dome had not grown since previous visits on December 10 and 20.

"As such we consider that the current episode of eruption to have ceased,'' he said.

Lava dome temperatures measured on January 1 were at around 200-240 degrees and the nearby hot lake was 70-80 degrees.

Mr Fournier said those temperature readings were similar to previous readings.

"Good viewing conditions allowed us to get some remote temperature measurements using an infrared thermometer.

The hot lake was really fizzing, lots of gas coming through it,'' he said.

Seismicity is continuing to show elevated levels of tremor.

GNS Science said even though the current episode of eruptive activity was over, White Island still remained in a heightened state of unrest and future eruptions were still possible with little or no warning.

GNS Science is continuing to monitor the island.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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