NHRP / Hazard themes / Geological Hazards / Volcano / Volcano 2014-15

Volcanic Hazards 2014-15

♦ 2013-14

♦ 2012-13

Platform volcanologists continue their involvement with Taranaki Seismic & Volcanic Advisory Group and the Central Plateau Volcanic Advisory Group.

Gill Jolly (GNS Science) and colleagues developed a new risk-based approach to life-safety assessment based on experience from the 2012 Tongariro eruption.  The method was published in the International Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research (♦ Link) with Harry Keys of Department of Conservation (DoC) and contributes to international best practice guidelines. Within NZ, the method has been shared with Civil Defence authorities, local authorities and tourism operators, and is being used by DoC to manage public access to volcanic areas. Jolly’s team was honoured with a 2015 NZ Workplace Health & Safety award for development of the method (♦ Link).

GNS Science volcanologists were asked by the USGS Volcanic Disaster Assistance Programme to co-organise a ‘Cities on Volcanoes’ (CoV) workshop on Kawah Ijen volcano (Indonesia). This is a direct result and recognition of earlier published work on the Ruapehu system by Bruce Christenson (GNS Science). The conceptual and numerical models for Ruapehu were adopted to describe the Kawah Ijen volcanic hydrothermal environment, and provides the basis for understanding the inner workings and monitoring of that system. Ruapehu now holds "Sister Volcano" status with Kawah Ijen.  Graham Leonard (GNS Science volcanologist affiliated with Societal Resilience theme) organised a workshop at the same CoV conference to determine how to make future CoV meetings more effective for international emergency management and societal end-users, and exchange international volcanic warning and emergency management outreach materials.

An image of Mount Taranaki

For volcanologists at Massey University, one of the highlights of the year has been the completion of a new high-resolution eruption record from Mt Taranaki. This rests on a long-term lake- and swamp-coring and dating programme to increase the coverage in both age and spread of tephras from Mt Taranaki. Through the work of PhD student Maggi Damaschke and her supervisors, as well as Alan Hogg (University of Waikato), five new cores have been collected. With over 40 new radiocarbon dates, a new series of age models and new geochemical data, the Massey team have produced one of the best volcanic records for a re-awakening volcano that extends back ~36 ka before present, with findings integrated into the 2014 Taranaki Regional Council Volcanic Response Plan.

In other work, the Massey team have also looked at impacts of volcanism on agriculture.  The hazard of chemical and physical impacts to New Zealand’s pastures and livestock has been well known since the 1995-96 eruptions of Mt Ruapehu, but the group's recent studies on the small ash falls from the 2012 Te Maari eruption show that eruptions from most of our andesite volcanoes will lead to strong chemical impacts to our livestock, pastures, waterways and soils (♦ Link).

Extending this work with Dr Kim Genareau (University of Alabama), the team have gone on to investigate the long-term environmental impacts of tephra being crushed and abraded following deposition into the landscape. The experimental study took a range of fresh ash fall samples (2010 and 2014 eruptions) from Indonesian volcanoes with very similar magmas to those at Ruapehu and Taranaki. Crushing and grinding experiments to simulate river and wind erosion of tephra were used to examining the long-term post-eruption impacts of the reactive surfaces in waterways. The research team’s preliminary findings will provide insight into impacts on farming operations and post-eruption recovery strategies.   

You can read more volcanology theme highlights in Natural Hazards 2014 - 'NZ's volcanic risk research on the international stage' (♦ Link).

Back to

Last uodated 16 Dec 2015