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Whakaari/ White Island Volcano Activity Jumps After Minor Eruption

Photo: GeoNet

GNS Science has raised the Volcanic Activity Level for Whakaari/White Island to 3, the highest level, following an eruption this morning.

Emergency Management Bay of Plenty spokesperson says there is no risk to people on land, the main potential hazard to the mainland is ashfall, and that does not appear to have been generated.

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But the spokesperson says ashfall safety advice and other information has been posted via public channels and shared this with local media.

In consultation with the BOPRC Harbourmaster, it is advising all vessels to avoid the waters around Whakaari White island until further notice.

The spokesperson says there is nothing to see, and people put themselves at risk of harm if there is a further eruption.

There may also be debris and ashfall in the area around the island.

MetService and GNS Science will be monitoring the area.

"The minor eruption happened at 8.20am and was seen as a vigorous steam plume above the island," GNS Science volcanologist Yannik Behr said.

Witnesses have described smoke rising from Whakaari / White Island on Friday morning.

A resident near the island told RNZ there was a "good eruption going on" with "big plumes smoke and ash".

A deadly eruption of the volcano killed 22 people and injured 25 others in 2019.

A lengthy legal process followed the tragedy and resulted in the conviction of the company managing the privately-owned island, Whakaari Management. Six parties other pleaded guilty and six had charges dismissed.

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