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Could a volcanic eruption like Kilauea happen in Auckland?

The ongoing eruption of Kilauea in Hawaii could provide some valuable lessons about Auckland volcanoes, says a GNS researcher.

An image of a fictitious volcanic eruption in Auckland, produced as part of Exercise Ruamoko in 2008. Photo: Crown / beehive.govt.nz

Manager of volcanic and earthquake surveillance at GNS Brad Scott said that if a volcano were to erupt in Auckland, its likely we'd see fountains of lava similar to those that have erupted from Kilauea this week.

There's certainly aspects of the eruption, the breakouts, the lava flows etc those are very similar to what the geology of Auckland tells us what has happened when eruptions have occurred.

Mr Scott said there are examples in Auckland where lava flows have been several kilometres long.

He said if when an eruption occurs in Auckland, they would expect to see lava flows running down roads and through sub-divisions.

"Auckland volcanos will ultimately produce lava flows" - Brad Scott duration 3:10

from Morning Report

Click a link to play audio (or right-click to download) in either
MP3 format.

Aucklanders would only get warning of an eruption a matter of days beforehand.

"At least you get some indication, which is a lot better than earthquakes," he said.

The volcanic field around Auckland has been active for around 153,000 years with only 53 eruptions.

"Sometimes they are three or four thousand years apart, sometimes they're a bit more clustered together," he said.

"There's no indication it's coming, but it's the sort of thing that will ultimately happen."


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