June's incredible uptick of major quakes and volcanic activity continued yesterday with another mag 6.3 off the north island of New Zealand.
The quake is part of a large swarm which coincides with Whakaari volcano unrest also off the north island.
Yesterdays magnitude 6.3 Earthquake was the 6th major quake (M6 or higher) to hit the Kermadec Islands region, north of New Zealand, this month.
Besides the 6 major quakes which included a massive mag 7.2 almost 100 more quakes ranging from mag 4.5 to mag 5.9 have also rocked the area. See map above.
Meanwhile, scientists have raised the Volcanic Alert Level at Whakaari - White Island to level 2, following new unrest.
The island off the Bay of Plenty presents a greater likelihood of erupting.
A GNS Science duty officer confirmed to Stuff that the level had been raised on Wednesday.
Volcano Alert Level 2 is mostly associated with volcanic unrest hazards with the potential for eruption hazards.
GNS Science volcano information specialist Brad Scott said the level was raised after data showed changes in gas on the island, and the levels of unrest increased from low to moderate.
A statement on GeoNet's website from GNS Science read: "our heightened monitoring of Whakaari as part of the response to recent earthquake swarms has shown an increase in sulphur dioxide gas flux to historically high levels.
"A gas flight today detected 1886 tons/day of sulphur dioxide, nearly 3 times the previous values measured in May 2019.
Nearby earthquake swarms are continuing.
It is still unclear of the relationship of the earthquake swarms to the high sulphur dioxide observed today.
"GNS Science and the National Geohazard Monitoring Centre continued to closely monitor the island for further signs of activity," GNS was always keeping an eye on New Zealand's volcanos and Whakaari - White Island would be closely monitored for changes. "Watch this space, claimed an expert.
Last week a swarm of small earthquakes took place near the Bay of Plenty island.
In May, a similar swarm of earthquakes occurred around Whakaari - White Island, with more than 300 earthquakes, centred 20km deep or less, recorded under the sea.
Yesterday's quake was the 17th major quake of a busy June, all of them occurred around the Pacific Ring Of Fire.
It was also the 75th of 2019.
A pilot for Niugini Helicopters flying near the crater witnessed a column of lava spurting vertically into the equatorial sky, along with ash that has been belching since early morning.
Ulawun, on the remote Bismarck Archipelago chain, is listed as one of 16 "Decade Volcanoes" targeted for research because they pose a significant risk of large, violent eruptions.
Witnesses said lava had cut off the main highway in the north of the island.
Witnesses had reported ash spewing out of the 2,334 meters (7,657 foot) summit, sending trails spanning high overhead.
Japanese satellite imagery and sources on the ground had shown sulfur dioxide and now volcanic ash drifting from the crater.
Australia's Bureau of Meteorology said the ash reached more than 13 kilometres (44,000 feet) into the air.
The bureau's Darwin Volcanic Ash Advisory Centre issued a "red" warning to airlines, indicating the eruption was imminent, although there is not believed to be an immediate threat for flight routes.