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Mountain Woes On Volcanologist's Agenda

Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management Group media release

20 October 2008

For immediate release

Mountain Woes On Volcanologist's Agenda For Seminar

It's not only land owners, engineers and local authorities taking a close interest in the severe erosion on the western side of Mount Taranaki that has followed heavy rainstorms this year.

Volcanologists are watching too, and one of the leading experts in the field will explain why in New Plymouth on 30 October.

Professor Vince Neall, from Massey University, will be among the speakers at a seminar organised by the Taranaki Civil Defence Emergency Management Group and focusing on impacts, consequences and recovery from volcanic activity.

Other speakers will include Dr Shane Cronin, who will talk about the lessons to be learned from recent eruptions at Indonesia's Mount Merapi - described as a geological "twin" of Mount Taranaki. These lessons include the perils of attempting to control lahars with protection structures - at Mount Merapi, such measures inadvertently increased the hazards rather than reducing them.

University of Canterbury PhD research student Tom Wilson will summarise key lessons from 15 years of post-eruption reconnaissance trips to volcanoes in Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, the United States, Iceland, Italy, the Philippines, Japan and Indonesia. Mr Wilson has studied the impact of eruptions on communities, essential services and agriculture.

The free seminar starts at 7pm on Thursday, 30 October, at the Taranaki Emergency Management Office on Marsland Hill in New Plymouth and it is open to the public. To register for attendance, email or call Delia Smith on 0800 736 222 by 28 October.

The event has been timed for Civil Defence staff and volunteers who are preparing for a training exercise next month.

The scenario for Exercise Billow, planned for 13 November, will centre on a supposed eruption of Mount Taranaki and its impacts on the region's communities and activities. The Taranaki Emergency Management Office will be activated but the exercise is not expected to affect normal daily routines for those not involved.


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