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03:44 PM

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White Island Volcano UPDATE: (NOT GOOD)

A visit was made to White Island this morning and observations confirm the volcano is in eruption. This is the first ash emission from White Island since February 2001 and represents the start of a new phase of volcanic activity at White Island.

A vent has been established towards the south-west corner of 1978/90 Crater Complex and is now erupting an ash charged plume. The ash is only rising 2-300 m above the active vent, ie. a weak eruption. The ash is black and is depositing on the wall of the Main Crater to the west of the vent (light easterly wind). The ash from the past 2 days has washed away from the factory area. The active vent has started to build a tuff cone and there are impact craters around it created by ejecta from explosions. There was no sign of impact craters or blocks outside of the 1978/90 Crater area.

The Factory and Rim web cameras were cleaned.

Visitors to White Island are now at the highest level of risk since the end of the 2001 eruptions. Additional hazards to visitors to the island now include the health effects of volcanic ash and acid gas exposure, including respiratory issues, skin and eye sensitivity to acid gases. Explosive eruptions can occur at any time with little or no warning. We advise a high level of caution should be taken, if visiting the island.

We continue to monitor the volcano and will issue further updates as more information becomes available.

Volcanic Alert Level remains at 2
Aviation Colour Code remains at Orange

Brad Scott

[link to geonet.org.nz]
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