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White Island visitors at highest level of risk since 2000

Contributor:
Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media

Around 11:30 pm on August 7 volcanic tremor at White Island sharply decreased to levels seen prior to the current episode of unrest in late July. A few hours after this drop in tremor, the colour of the plume changed from white to light brown, indicating more ash is now in the plume. Visual observations in recent days show that a small cone is being built in the lake, around the main area of degassing.

This is the first time ash has been produced from White Island since 2000 and may represent the start of a new phase of activity at White Island.

Visitors to White Island are now at the highest level of risk since the end of the 2000 eruptions. Additional hazards to visitors to the island now include the health effects of ash and acid gas exposure, including respiratory issues, skin and eye sensitivity to acid gases. These hazards increase significantly towards the Crater Lake rim. Eruptions can occur at any time with little or no warning. We advise a high level of caution should be taken, if visiting the island.

The ashfall prediction plot for 6:00 pm today indicates where volcanic ash may be deposited if ash continues to be produced from the volcano.

GNS volcanologists plan to visit the island this week to assess the situation and undertake further sampling and measurements.

Aviation Colour Code remains at Orange.

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