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World volcano Profiles >New Zealand

White Island volcano:North Island New Zealand

White Island volcano (321m from sea surface) lies at the northern end of the Taupo volcanic zone on New Zealands North Island and is an andesitic stratovolcano. Its maori name of "Te Puia o Whakaari" means Dramatic mountain its English name was given by Captain Cook in 1769. It is the most continuously active volcano in New Zealand and the one most inhospitable to visitors. It lies 30 miles from the northern coast and the majority of its bulk lies underneath the waters surface. The last eruption of note was in 1998 but the mud is always bubbling and the steam steaming. Recently a pink dinosaur has been seen lurking on the volcanoes webcam.

Check the webcamyourself.GNS Volcano Webcams
GNS: Geological Nuclear Sciences: White Island
Geonet.org: Web cam
GNS:Alert bulletin
Volcanoworld: Taupo Volcanic Zone

The Geology Bit

Tectonic setting of New ZealandWhite Island is New Zealands most regularly volatile volcano and has numerous hot water springs,bubbling mud pools and steaming sulphurous fumaroles and has been erupting for 150,000 years. The volcano is comprised of three joined andesitic/dacite stratovolcanoes caused by the subduction of the Pacific plate beneath the Australian plate. As the more dense oceanic crust sinks beneath the Australian plate fluids are released from the descending plate which aids melting of the mantle wedge above. The magma rises to the surface and erupts as ash and dacite lava domes.

Stromblian activity also occurs - showers of incandescent material a bit like fireworks! On still days steam and ash can rise up to 10km into the sky

Eruptions in the early 80s created a crater lake eruptions in 2000 covered the island in ash and created a new crater.

What to see and How to see it?

White Island istockAround 10 000 people visit White Island a year but visits are dependent on activity so its best to check ahead with a tour operator or the GNS.The volcano is not only volatile but also private owned and therefore access is through authorised operators only. Boats leave Whakatane for a 6 hour trip daily and you get a 2 hour guided tour of the volcano with plenty of time for photos.Make sure you get a hard hat . You can go by Helicopter from Rotorura or Whakatane.

GNS:Alert bulletin
Geonet.org: Web cam

Be aware that the steam and mist from the volcano is acidic and could irritate eyes and skin. Make sure you protect your camera equipment from the mist.White Island Sulphur deposits

White Island Traveloque with www.tikitouring.co.nz
www.whiteisland.co.nz: Pee Jay Tours
www.vulcanheli.co.uk: Helicopter tours
Global Volcanism project