Whakaari/White Island records small steam explosions early Friday morning

Whakaari/White Island on Friday morning.
Whakaari/White Island on Friday morning. Photo credit: GeoNet

A series of steam explosions have occurred at Whakaari/White Island on Friday morning, following a small increase in volcanic tremor levels.

GeoNet reported that their air pressure sensors detected a series of small steam explosions around 2:20am which took place over an hour and 40 minutes.

"No observations were available from the island's webcams as it was still dark," GeoNet duty volcanologist Brad Scott said. 

"The overall series of pulses lasted for about 100 minutes and were of a similar size to those recorded on December 29, 2020. Volcanic tremor levels started to rise around 9pm on February 18 and stopped around 5:50am today coincident with the end of the explosions."

The explosions did not appear to have produced any ash and the Volcanic alert level for the island remains at 1.

Scott said explosions can occur with "little or no warning" and are recorded on their seismic (ground vibrations) and acoustic (pressure wave in the atmosphere) monitoring network.

"GNS Science and the National Geohazards Monitoring Centre continue to closely monitor Whakaari for further changes in unrest. GeoNet monitors Whakaari via a network of seismic and acoustic sensors, GNSS (GPS) receivers, cameras, and gas and visual observations."