Members of the public are still being warned to stay well clear of the geothermal activity that has emerged on Meade Street in Whakarewarewa.
5 July 2019 - Meade Street update
The geothermal activity has died down due to the recent rain quenching the heat. However, even in the short amount of time since the rain has stopped, steam is starting to reappear around the site so there may be a return of activity.
Council has worked with the property owner to secure the site. The house on the property has now also been issued with a dangerous building notice.
People are advised to stay well clear of the site as the ground is still very unstable and new cracks continue to appear.
Council continues to monitor the situation.
2 July 2019 - Meade Street update
Today the mud pool appears to be less active and this is likely due to the rain we have had. Once the rain clears the mud pool is expected to become more active again. There has been no further ground collapse and some of the rubble from the site and shed demolition has been cleared.
1 July 2019 - Meade Street update
Today there has been no significant change to the geothermal feature that has formed on Meade Street. The mud pool remains active and we are anticipating some further ground collapse where the crack is forming in the photo below. People are advised to stay well back from the safety fencing and barriers and to only view the mud pool from outside of the safety cordon.
30 June 2019 - Meade Street update
The situation at Meade Street remains similar to yesterday. The mud pool is still active but there has been no further ground collapse.
29 June 2019 - Meade Street update
The mud pool on Meade Street has remained active over night. The shed on the property has now been demolished and a temporary safety fence has been put in place at the front of the property. We are continuing to monitor the situation.
28 June 2019 - Meade Street update
The situation at Meade Street remains similar to yesterday. There has been slightly more ground collapse on the property. Council is working with the owner to further secure the property.
Matters relating to the property ie, whether or not the shed and/or house will be demolished will need to be referred to the property owner. Council’s role in this event is to ensure public safety and we cannot comment on decisions relating to private property.
27 June 2019 - Further ground collapse at Meade Street
There has been more ground collapse since yesterday and the mud pool is now bigger and has reached to just under foundations of the garage on the property.
There is also steam venting from the bank moving towards the house.
The occupants of the house are all moved out.
There have been events along the bank where this has occurred in recent years although in the past it has just been steam vents which have eventually stopped so this time with the mud pool forming is a bit different.
GNS and RLC are continuing to monitor the situation and council's role is around public safety. Council is in contact with the property owner to support them regarding safety requirements.
Video update from Rotorua Lakes Council’s Geothermal Inspector, Peter Brownbridge - 27 June 2019
Video update from GNS Science's Volcano Information Specialist, Brad Scott - 27 June 2019
Click on the image above to view video
26 June 2019 - Safety warning: geothermal activity on Meade Street
Currently an area around the site has been cordoned off and it is essential that people stay on the outside of the cordoned area. Geothermal activity is unpredictable and while the ground may look safe it is currently unstable and could change at any time. Please ensure that children are supervised at all times if in the area.
At 1am on Tuesday 25 June Council received a report that the ground was shaking and a loud noise was coming from the bank behind a house on Meade St in Whakarewarewa.
Rotorua Lakes Council’s geothermal inspector, Peter Brownbridge, went to check the area and steam was observed venting under pressure from a hole in the lip of the bank with wet mud also being thrown out of the hole.
There was some ground collapse later that morning and later in the day the occupants of the property where the activity was occurring were advised to move out as a safety precaution.
Today (Wednesday 26 June) activity at the site has increased with the mud pool slightly expanding in size and more mud being thrown from the hole.
The event has occurred on private property so Council is working with the owners to secure the property to ensure public safety.
Council is working alongside GNS who are carrying out their own investigations and monitoring.
This event appears to be isolated to this specific area.
Whakarewarewa is known for its active geothermal activity and a similar event took place in the same area in 2016. This event took 10 weeks to conclude.
There is a fault line running under the bank where the mud pool has formed. Sometimes heat flow from the Whakarewarewa Village travels along the fault line and comes to the surface. Usually this is just in the form of heat and steam so having the wet mud also being thrown out makes this event unusual.
It is too early to say how this event will develop and we are currently letting it run its course. Potential outcomes include the mud pool cooling down and disappearing, the mud pool establishing itself as an active geothermal pool, or the mud pool activity could escalate.
The main risk at the moment is ground collapse at the top of the bank. We’re keeping a close eye on the shed but expect that the house will be okay at this stage.
Council and GNS are monitoring the activity closely and will take appropriate action as the event unfolds.
This information will be updated as the event progresses.