Volcanic activity continues on White Island, vent temperature rises, New Zealand

Data from last week’s observation flight over White Island volcano show a significant increase in active vent temperature to just over 500 °C (932 °F). The volcano remains in a state of moderate to elevated excitement, and the volcano alert level remains at level 2.

GNS scientists flew last week to visually observe White Island Volcano, including temperature measurements around the active vent, notes GeoNet volcanologist on duty Craig Miller.1

The maximum temperature measured in the active vent area was 516 °C (961 °F).

From September through November 2021, temperatures ranged from 202 °C to 264 °C (395 to 507 °F). Temperatures over 500 °C were last observed in July and August 2021. These observations are consistent with hot gas continuing to be released from the molten rock (magma) beneath the volcano.

As in most previous missions, there is still a minor ash emission, limited to areas near the active vents. Further intermittent ash emissions may continue.

There were no signs of further ash or liquid emissions from the vent near the base of the 2019 landslide. Gas emissions have been smaller but have not been quantified since November 18, 2021.

Water levels in the lake have dropped during recent good weather.

The current level of activity corresponds to moderate to elevated wave levels. Because of this, the volcano alert level remains at level 2 and the aviation color code is yellow.

Miller added that GeoNet equipment on the island is out of service. This means that while they are receiving some data, it is not coming in real time and is not complete.

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