Published on 04 April 1996
The volcano has been quiet for the last few hours, but this should not be interpreted as meaning that the current phase of activity is over. The situation remains extremely serious, and further activity could begin at any time.
Visual observations have been possible from Whites and the airport this morning, although they have been restricted by low cloud. A helicopter observation flight will be made shortly.
A small rockfall from the northeast dome was seen at 1028, and a further larger rockfall at 1039. The second rockfall caused an ash cloud that rose to about 4000 ft. These rockfalls occurred from the same part of the dome as yesterday's pyroclastic flows. There is unstable material at the top of the slope, so further rock falls and ash clouds are to be expected.
Many small earthquakes have been recorded by the seismic network this morning, at about a rate of one per minute. These "hybrid" earthquakes are associated with magma movement and show that the dome is still continuing to grow. A new spine was observed close to the centre of the dome this morning.