Auckland Sitting On Active Volcano
AUCKLAND SITTING ON ACTIVE VOLCANIC FIELD
Scientist Researchers - Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences:
New Zealand's biggest city, Auckland, sits
on an active volcanic field
that could produce a new volcano at any time, say researchers.
considered include an eruption forming an offshore
island, one in the Tamaki Estuary, and three within 2km of the central
business district. Each case is expected to result in the evacuation of
100,000 to 150,000 people and major disruption to commerce and
services." says project co-ordinator David Johnston
An investment of the
Public Good Science Fund has enabled scientists
to work with the Auckland Regional Council to better understand the
field and the hazards posed by such a volcano.
group from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear
has developed five realistic eruption scenarios to illustrate what could
happen to Auckland's population, infrastructure and environment.
assessment of each scenario has revealed the extent of the
and economic impact on the Auckland community," says Dr Johnston.
The research has also noted the
importance of building relationships
among a range of organisations and community agencies representing
Dr Johnston says the first of
Auckland's 50 volcanoes started to
appear about 140,000 years ago.
"The life of the volcanic field is estimated
at one million years so,
geologically speaking, the field is still young. There has been a trend
to bigger and more frequent eruptions around Auckland in the past
20,000 years. Rangitoto, the youngest and biggest volcano, formed
about 600 years ago."
"The lack of
surface activity can lead to the false impression that the
Auckland volcanic field is extinct. But the hot spot of magma deep
below the city remains active and will almost certainly send up another
volcano in the future."
The next eruption is unlikely to occur at an existing
Auckland tends to produce "single episode" volcanoes - after the
eruption the volcanic plumbing seals off and blocks the flow of future
in partnership with Massey University, is also researching
much people know and understand about the vulnerability of New
Zealand to natural hazards. They are also evaluating methods of
improving the effectiveness of hazard education programmes.