The active volcano White Island is erupting off the coast of Tauranga causing ash to fall along parts of the coastline.
There are reports of ash falling in Papamoa today due to continuing eruptions at the volcano about 48km off the coast of the Bay of Plenty.
White Island crater lake taken at 2pm today. Photo: GNS Science.
The volcanic alert level on White Island was raised to level two after a small eruption in its crater on Sunday.
Scientists visited the island this morning and confirmed it is erupting.
Papamoa east resident Dave Congalton went to wash his car this afternoon when he noticed a fine layer of ash on the roof.
“At first I thought it was pollen but on closer inspection it was ash.
“It is only very fine, nothing like when Ruapehu erupted.”
GNS duty volcanologist Brad Scott says there was an ash cloud of about 300metres coming from the south-west corner of one of the craters on White Island when scientists visited today.
“There is a dark ash cloud coming from the very back of the crater near the shore of the lake rising to about 300m.”
Brad says there is an easterly wind so it is feasible that ash could be falling in parts of Papamoa.
He says it is not hazardous for people living in the area but may be a nuisance for people if it falls on cars.
There are also reports of lightening at the island with Whakatane Police recieving numerous calls on from Eastern Bay of Plenty residents seeing light coming from the island on Thursday evening
White Island’s last big eruption was in 2000 after a series of eruptive episodes that lasted from 1975 until 2001.
Brad says this eruption is likely to last at least a week, or potentially months.
The alert level remains at level two and the aviation code is orange meaning a heightened risk.