Unrest continues at Whakaari/White Island, with substantial gas, steam and mud bursts observed at a vent on the volcanic island off the Bay of Plenty coast.

GNS volcanologist Brad Scott said explosive gas and steam-driven mud jetting continued from the active vent area at the back of the crater lake.

Other monitoring parameters remained elevated with the Volcanic Alert Level
remaining at Level 2.

Scott said the level of activity at the vent was variable and, when in a stronger phase, some material was being deposited about the vent area.

"This style of activity has been present since late September, although it is occurring more frequently now. No volcanic ash is being produced," Scott said.


Volcanic gas emission and seismic activity continued to remain elevated.

"An occasional gas smell may have been noted on the North Island mainland, pending on the dominant wind direction. Volcanic tremor also remains at moderate levels in the last week, with some periodic variations, matched with episodes of increased gas-steam jetting and fountaining," Scott said.

The water level of the crater lake had not changed for the past week, and gas/steamdriven mud fountaining activity continued to be observed from the active vent area on the west side of the 1978/90 Crater Complex, near the 2012 lava dome, at the back of the crater lake.

This fountaining is regularly throwing mud and debris 20 to 30 metres into the air above the vent.

Scott said while the activity was contained to the far side of the lake, the current level of activity did not pose a direct hazard to visitors.

"The monitoring observations bear some similarities with those seen during the 2011-2016 period when Whakaari/White Island was more active and stronger volcanic activity occurred.

"Observations and data to date suggest that the volcano may be entering a period where eruptive activity is more likely than normal."