Volcanic activity at White Island has increased which is indicative of a significant eruption, according to GNS Science. Currently, there is increased hydrothermal activity which is of “significant concern” according to Brad Scott, a vulcanologist at GNS.
It is very unusual to see so many volcanoes in New Zealand showing signs of unrest.
There have also been recent swarms of quakes in Taupo and Taranaki, which both have significant volcanoes.
Ever since last years 7.0 earthquake in Taranaki, the region has had regular quakes of 3, 4, and 5 in magnitude. 2013 the region is even more active. With a 5.0 on New Years Day followed by a 4.3 half an hour later, the year started with a shake.
Today, the region was struck by a 5.2. Of course it could all subside and go back to normal. But regualr activity increases the chance of a big quake and it is also possible that the Taranaki Volcano like many others in the North Island, are starting to show signs of life.
The central North Island of New Zealand is showing signs of increased volcanic activity after warnings issued on three volcanoes in the last couple of days. White Island, Mt Ruapehu, and Mt Tongariro are all heating up.
These 3 volcanoes lie in the same part of the Pacific Ring of Fire that passes through the North Island. While Tongariro and Ruapehu are south of Lake Taupo, White Island is located to the north.
It will be interesting to see if these are all happening independently of each other or if they are all linked somehow. If they are linked, then this could mean that Lake Taupo could show signs of heating up too. Although this is unlikely, the fact that Taupo is one of Earth’s super-volcanoes, means it would be wise at least to consider the possibility.
New Zealand scientists investigating an active undersea volcano that erupted three months ago have discovered significant changes to the seafloor.
Niwa research ship Tangaroa has mapped the Kermadec volcano that erupted 800km northeast of Tauranga on July 19, producing a pumice raft the size of Canterbury.
The eruption was strong enough to breach the ocean surface from a depth of 1100 metres. It was captured by a Nasa satellite, and a Royal New Zealand Air Force Orion patrol spotted the pumice on their way back home from Samoa.
Niwa’s volcanologist Dr Richard Wysoczanski, who is leading the 23-day expedition, said there had been volcanic activity every year for the past decade, but this was the largest by far.
“It is a substantial eruption. Had it occurred on land in New Zealand, it would have been a bit of a disaster.”
The volcanic caldera, which is like Lake Taupo, known to produce large and violent eruptions, spewed up to 10,000 more material than the Mt Tongariro eruption on August 6, he said.
It was mapped in 2002, showing a 1km-high undersea mountain with a 5km wide, 800-metre deep central crater.
This week, scientists found a new volcanic cone which has formed on the edge of the volcano, towering 240 metres above the crater rim.