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White Island tours planned despite volcanic alert

Published: 9:31AM Friday August 03, 2012 Source: Newstalk ZB/ ONE News

Tours around White Island will be going ahead today despite increased volcanic activity for the popular visitor spot.

GeoNet raised an alert for the island, which lies 48 kilometres off the Bay of Plenty coast, yesterday after signs of increased activity.

White Island Tours spokesman Patrick O'Sullivan said business would not be affected by the alert and, if anything, it may pick up.

He said any slight increase in activity always raises interest.

The crater lake in the island has started to refill, which according to GeoNet indicates changes to the activity levels of the volcano. The discharge of some sulphur gases has increased, which occurs when magma moves into a volcano.

There has also been some minor volcanic tremors in the past few weeks.

As a result, GeoNet its aviation alert from green to yellow for pilots flying over and near the region.

White Island is one of New Zealand's most active cone volcanoes. It has been built up by continuous volcanic activity over the past 150,000 years and is the largest in the country.

GeoNet has advised people visiting the area to take extra caution.