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Steam plume visible at White Island crater

Published: 5:40PM Sunday August 05, 2012 Source: ONE News

  • White Island crater, 5 August 2012 (Source: GeoNet)
    White Island crater, 5 August 2012 - Source: GeoNet
  • View of White Island from Papamoa Beach (Source: Supplied by Rebecca Cowley)
    View of White Island from Papamoa Beach - Source: Supplied by Rebecca Cowley

A steam plume has been visible at the White Island crater today.

Earlier this week GNS Science issued a volcanic alert for White Island, which is off the coast of the Bay of Plenty, due to signs of increased activity.

According to GNS, although more volcanic activity has been recorded, "everything seems to be relatively stable".

Volcanologists have recorded a rapid rise in White Island's crater lake, a pulse of volcanic tremor and slightly higher gas levels in the plume.

"Although the volcanic tremor increased substantially during Saturday it has returned to levels similar to those during the early part of last week," GNS said.

The white steam plume can sometimes be seen from areas of the Bay of Plenty coast.

On Thursday, GNS Science duty volcanologist Michael Rosenberg said its crater lake has started to re-fill and gases were now "vigorously streaming through it".

"Airborne gas measurements show that the discharge of some sulphur gases has increased," he said.

GNS volcanologists plan to visit White Island early next week to collect water and gas samples and make a ground level survey of the crater floor.

These measurements will help understand what changes are taking place beneath the volcano and whether these might lead to increased surface activity.

GNS advises people to take extra caution, especially if approaching the crater lake and other active thermal features.