Rotorua Weekender

Instrument failures hinder monitoring of volcanic island


Near real-time monitoring of Whakaari/white Island has been lost with the failure of instrument­s on the volcanic island.

Since the deadly December 2019 eruption, the on-island network had not been serviced and power supplies, sensors and cameras had degraded or failed over time, GNS Science says.

GNS Science would continue to monitor via other, less-frequent methods.

The monitoring network at

Whakaari consisted of two sites with earthquake and pressure sensors to detect explosive airwaves, three cameras, two sulphur dioxide gas scanners and two GNSS antenna for measuring ground deformatio­n.

Volcanolog­ist Geoff Kilgour says their near real-time capability had been largely reliant on the on-island earthquake and pressure sensors.

“The first of these failed in April 2021 and the second failed late last week. The loss of the second earthquake and pressure sensor reduces our ability to closely monitor the volcano in near real-time.

“Until we are able to service our on-island equipment and power supplies we will be increasing the frequency of our gas and observatio­n flights to the island,” he said.

The most recent observatio­n flight two weeks ago showed the activity level at the island remained low, with normal fumarole and gas emissions.

The Volcanic Alert Level remains at Level 1 and the Aviation Colour Code remains Green.

 ?? Photo / NZME ?? Whakaari/ White Island.
Photo / NZME Whakaari/ White Island.

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