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Whakaari / White Island alert level changed

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Scientists have reduced the volcanic alert level for Whakaari / White Island following a minor eruption on Friday morning.

The alert, initially set at three out of six, was downgraded to level two by Friday evening, indicating moderate to heightened volcanic unrest.

The minor eruption was brief and resulted in a small amount of ash falling on the northern part of the island. There were no further eruptions throughout the day.

GNS Science reported that while volcanic activity has returned to more normal levels, with steam and gas emissions from active vents, the potential for another eruption remains and could occur with little or no warning.

Earlier in the day, scientists were flown to the island by helicopter to assess the situation. Observations revealed that boiling water and steam bursts from the crater lake were more vigorous than in recent months, reaching heights of 20-30 meters for several seconds. This activity suggests the eruption was likely gas-driven, with no evidence of fresh magma near the surface.

A gas flight is scheduled for Monday to measure current gas emission levels. No ashfall is expected on the mainland, as south-west winds are carrying the ash out to sea.

 

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