Crater Lake Changes at White Island Volcano

GNS Science issued an alert bulletin for White Island volcano in the Bay of Plenty this morning, following the crater lake reaching the highest temperature ever recorded.

The volcano’s crater lake started rising from its typical temperature of 48-50 ºC in August 2006, passing 60 ºC during January 2007. Recent visits to the volcano have confirmed the continued increase in temperature which is now 74 ºC, the highest temperature ever recorded.

Other measurements indicate that the increased heat flow through White Island is due to geothermal, not magmatic activity. However, the heating has caused the lake level to fall 6 metres since 2005, changing the pressures within the volcano’s geothermal system. This could cause instability, leading to minor eruptive activity.

Prior to the 1976 eruption, the crater floor was seen to inflate but such deformation has not been observed in recent months.

Seismic activity at White Island has changed since mid-January, with weak volcanic tremor indicating hydrothermal activity at shallow depths. Three shallow tectonic earthquakes have also struck near the volcano since the beginning of the year, but their significance is uncertain. They were a magnitude 4.0, 5 km deep event 10 km north-east of the volcano on February 12th and a magnitude 4.0 quake, 5 km deep, 10 km east of White Island on January 12th followed 11 minutes later by a magnitude 3.6 event nearby.

Full details of the alert bulletin can be viewed here on the Geonet website.

[Compiled from Science Alert Bulletin WIZ-07/01 and data supplied by Geonet, GNS Science and their contributing agencies.]

One Response to “Crater Lake Changes at White Island Volcano”

  1. Chris says:

    A bit of a fizz and burp aye…

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