Taupō volcano remains at alert level 1 following recent magnitude 4.4 earthquake

Taupō volcano remains at alert level 1 following recent magnitude 4.4 earthquake
Photo credit: Getty Images

Scientists are continuing to monitor the Taupō volcano as minor unrest persists beneath the surface.

One year on from when experts first found an increase in earthquakes and ground movement, GeoNet is still keeping the volcanic alert level at 1, meaning there is minor volcanic unrest. The aviation colour code also remains at green, which indicates the volcano is in a normal, non-eruptive state.

It comes after there was another earthquake beneath Lake Taupō on Sunday that measured magnitude 4.4. The earthquake rupture occurred within 10 kilometres of the surface and shaking was felt mostly along the lake shore, GeoNet said. So far, more than 20 aftershocks have been found.

But the number of earthquakes per week has been declining since November, although GeoNet did see a slight increase prior to Sunday's quake. They also noticed a small signal on their newly installed tsunami sensors in the lake at the time of the earthquake, but more analysis is required to find out its cause.

GeoNet duty volcanologist Yannik Behr said the recent number and size of earthquakes, including Sunday's, is within their expectations for a volcano at minor volcanic unrest.

"This is confirmed by our other observations to date which show continuous activity, but no significant changes compared to the previous months of unrest," he said. 

"We also did not notice any changes in volcano monitoring indicators following the M4.4 earthquake."

GNS is continuing to monitor the volcano and is working with national and international experts to provide the best possible interpretation of our monitoring data.