White Island stirs, sends out ash clouds

Last updated 16:57 23/02/2013

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White Island is stirring again but volcanologists say activity within the crater is only minor.

GNS has monitoring cameras in place at the volcano which take photos of the crater every 15 minutes and scientists noticed an increased level of activity between 11.30am and 1.30pm today.

Duty volcanologist Arthur Jolly said the ash was confined to within the crater and would not affect aviation in the area.

He was unsure as to what the rest of the weekend had to hold.

"In certain volcanic systems you can see an evolution in the pattern and we know from many volcanoes worldwide that some volcanoes follow a pattern that leads to an eruption," Jolly said.

"But in this case, this volcano doesn't follow this kind of set script."

By the end of last month the hot crater lake on White Island completely dried up as explosive rocks, mud and gas were thrown into the air from the active volcano.

The volcano has been spewing a steady stream of gas since activity heated up in December.

It's the most active the volcano has been since 2000.

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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