Fears grow as alert triggered at New Zealand’s deadly Whakaari volcano | Ralph Lauren

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Geologists have lifted the volcanic alert level on Whakaari, the New Zealand volcano which killed 21 people in an eruption last year.

GeoNet has placed White Island at level two after observing volcanic ash from the steam and gas plumes, which has landed on its webcams.

Scientists from New Zealand’s seismic monitoring agency, GNS Science, have lifted the alert level to two — the same level that it was during the deadly December eruption almost a year ago — after conducting aerial reconnaissance flights.

This Instagrammer captured the blast.
Camera IconThis Instagrammer captured the blast. Credit: @allessandroKauffmann/Instagram/@allessandroKauffmann/Instagram

“Observations during the flight confirmed the presence of some fine material (ash) in the plume,” duty vulcanologist Yannik Behr said.

The island has also seen recent heavy rain and a small sequence of earthquakes, leading to “several episodes of slightly increased volcanic tremor”.

Such variances in activity have not been seen this year but are normal; there is no suggestion the volcano is set to erupt.

“While the gas output observed on Thursday is higher than recent observations, other monitoring parameters do not show significant changes.”

The volcanic island Whakaari or White Island in New Zealand’s northeastern Bay of Plenty region explosively erupted just after 2pm on December 9, 2019 sending a plume of ash almost 4km into the air.

A survivor of the fatal Whaakaari Volcanic eruption in New Zealand is removed on a stretcher from a RAAF C-130 Hercules at Sydney Airport in Sydney.
Camera IconA survivor of the fatal Whaakaari Volcanic eruption in New Zealand is removed on a stretcher from a RAAF C-130 Hercules at Sydney Airport in Sydney. Credit: JOEL CARRETT/AAPIMAGE

There were 47 people on the island at the time, including 24 Australians.

Twenty-three people were removed from the island via boats before it was declared unsafe.

A further 12 survivors were rescued via helicopter.

Twenty-one people were killed in the blast, including two who are missing and declared dead, and a further 26 were injured.

Of those, 14 Australians died.

The recovery operation at Whakaari/White Island, New Zealand.
Camera IconThe recovery operation at Whakaari/White Island, New Zealand. Credit: NEW ZEALAND DEFENCE FORCE/PR IMAGE



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