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White Island - Whakaari
White Island is the most continuously active volcano in New Zealand. It sits in the Bay of Plenty, which is around 50km away from the northern coast of New Zealand's North Island. The volcano last erupted three years ago, but its threat level was increased last month as volcanic activity intensified in the area.
What is White Island?
Also known by the Maori name Whakaari, White Island has been built up by regular volcanic activity over the last 150,000 years. 70% of the volcano in fact lies underwater, which makes it the largest volcanic structure in New Zealand.
It is privately owned and uninhabited, but regularly attracts tourists: the New Zealand tourism website states that tour operators offer visits to the island via boat, helicopter and float plane, and these tours can attract up to 10,000 annual visitors.
Timeline of the White Island eruption
How the New Zealand volcano eruption on White Island unfolded
Dec 9, 2019: Last week, an alert was issued for continuing 'moderate volcanic unrest'
The alert, issued by New Zealand's geological hazards agency GeoNet on Tuesday, December 3, said that moderate volcanic activity on White Island, off the east coast of the North Island, had been going on since late September but was "occurring more frequently now".
Volcano Alert Levels: explained
What is a Volcanic Alert Level?
The alert levels range from 0 to 5, where level 0 is no volcanic unrest and Level 5 is a Major Volcanic Eruption in progress. We use the NZ Volcanic Alert Level System to communicate with responding agencies, industries, media and the public about the status of the volcanoes.
How to prepare for a volcanic eruption
Volcanic activity can include hazards such as ashfall, falling rocks, very fast moving mixtures of hot gases and volcanic rock, lava flows and massive mudflows. Find out what to do before, during and after volcanic activity.