Taranaki is the most likely New Zealand volcano to cause national-scale impacts over our lifetimes. Positioned upwind from our most populous regions of Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, all Taranaki eruptions will disrupt air and surface transport, tourism, farming, power and water supplies. This volcano has a 50% probability of erupting over the next 50 years. Yet the dormancy since Taranaki’s last eruption (~AD1790) is one of its longest. Thus, we have no modern experience of its typically very long eruptions. Past research shows that once Mt. Taranaki starts erupting, it continues for years, decades, or centuries. A recent estimate of the net losses in economic activity from a brief Mt. Taranaki eruption (considering only a subset of potential impacts) is crudely estimated at ~NZ$1.7-4.0 billion of GDP per year, or ~NZ$13-26 billion, for a decade of volcanism.
Our research will build and test the geological, engineering and socio-economic knowledge essential for the New Zealand economy to transition through such an unprecedented level of on-going disruption. Using a novel integration of volcanic scientific knowledge, experimentation and advanced mathematical and economic simulation, we aim to radically cut down uncertainty that hinders decisive hazard and mitigation planning for transitioning to a new state of ongoing hazard. We will demonstrate how robust decisions can be made across space, through time, for multiple stakeholders. In this way we will also discover how to transform New Zealand in the face of continuous change. This requires developing an integrated quantitative understanding of volcanism in order to confidently forecast the volcanic impacts over timeframes suited to socio-economic decision-making.
Our research comprises five interconnected Research Aims (or ‘RAs’). Our programme is led by Shane Cronin and Garry McDonald.
For the Taranaki context, cocreation involves successive workshops/wānanga where stakeholders stress-test the utility of new decision-support tools, define criteria to select robust strategies, and practice formulating and selecting strategies, all in a collaborative process that favours learning across multiple worldviews.
Decision-support for dynamic transition delivers the tools that enable stakeholders to ex ante identification of key risks, decision points and robust strategies. Defining features will be system-wide consideration of impacts, multi-scale applicability, adaptation to new information, rapid deployment, and stakeholder-led co-design.
Leveraging Mātauranga Māori creates transition pathways for Iwi/hapū communities and businesses impact-based investment cases, by applying new robust probabilistic forecasts and knowledge of volcano behaviour and leveraging decision-support tools. It also establishes Mātauranga-ā-iwi knowledge of volcanic warning and hazard response.
Quantitative indicators of volcanic potential are tested and refined, then incorporated into novel probabilistic forecasting models for Taranaki volcano. These will encompass a time-varying long-term view, alongside short-term changes during event sequences. By leveraging a range of process-based models of volcanic phenomena, forecasts are also extended …
A new volcanic science discovers parameters that reliably indicate volcanic state and hazard potential, based on magma processes that govern specific eruption outcomes at Taranaki. This includes developing new chemical and physical approaches and experiments to parametrize processes from deep-to-surface settings.
Select Your Focus and Learn More