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Volcanic activity ramps up on Whakaari/White Island, prompting 'hazard' warning

Volcanic activity is ramping up on Whakaari/White Island, as scientists monitor ‘eruptive activity' that is more likely than normal. 

White Island. Source: istock.com

In a statement, GNS Science says the volcanic alert level has now been raised to a Level 2 and the aviation colour code is now yellow.

“Volcanic unrest continues at Whakaari/White Island and some monitored parameters show further increases in activity," the agency said. "Hazards on the island are now greater than during the past few weeks.

“The patterns of signals are similar to those through the 2011 - 2016 period and suggest that Whakaari/White Island may be entering a period where eruptive activity is more likely than normal.

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Sulphur dioxide levels are at their highest levels in six years. Source: Breakfast

"Recent observations can also be explained by the increased gas flux which leads to geysering and lake level changes.”

The number or locations of earthquakes beneath or near the island have not changed.

GNS Science volcanologists will continue to closely monitor the island for more signs of activity.