DEVORA - Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland
Auckland is a vital link in New Zealand's economy, and the city and surrounding region are being developed as internationally desirable places to live and work. However, Auckland is built on a volcanic field (a group of small volcanic cones, lava flows or craters over a wide area) and is also at risk from ash fall from eruptions at large volcanoes in the central North Island and Taranaki. Our understanding of the Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF) is incomplete; previous studies have been largely ad hoc, with no integration into over-arching hazard and risk assessments and follow-through to end users.
The seven-year DEVORA research programme, which grew out of the 'Auckland: It's Our Volcano' project in 2008, is aimed at a much-improved assessment of volcanic hazard and risk in the Auckland metropolitan area, and will provide a strategy and rationale for appropriate risk mitigation. This will be based on increasing our understanding of the AVF through an integrated, multi-disciplinary, multi-agency study.
Theme 1: Geological Model
- Where is the magma coming from?
- Why does it leave its source?
- What controls the path of magma in the crust?
- Where will the magma reach the surface?
- What is the crust made of (underpinning data set)?
- Why is the most recent eruption (Rangitoto) the largest?
- How fast will magma travel to the surface?
- When will we detect the ascending magma?
Theme 2: Probabilistic Volcanic Hazard Model
- What is the distribution in time of past eruptions affecting Auckland?
- What is the likelihood and size of future eruptions affecting Auckland?
- What are likely styles and hazards of future eruptions?
- Where are we in the lifespan of the Auckland Volcanic Field?
- How do we usefully calculate probabilistic volcanic hazard for Auckland?
- What is the probabilistic volcanic hazard?
- How intensive should the monitoring be to provide adequate warning of an AVF eruption?
Theme 3: Risk and Social Model for Auckland
- Who and what are exposed to volcanic hazards in Auckland?
- How will each hazard affect people and infrastructure?
- How will people and organisations cope in an eruption?
- What are the flow-on effects nation-wide from an eruption affecting Auckland?
- How can we calculate risk to people and infrastructure?
- What are the risks to people and infrastructure?
- How can these risks be reduced?
- How can people and organisations prepare to respond effectively to warnings?
DEVORA officially launched on Thursday, 6 November 2008, in the foyer of theVolcanoes exhibit at the Auckland War Memorial Museum. The University of Auckland's Dean of Science Dick Bellamy, Chief Executive of EQC David Middleton, and Chief Executive of GNS Science Alex Malahoff spoke at the event. The first DEVORA research forum took place in November 2008; regular meetings, annual research forums, seminars, and workshops are held throughout the year. This project is set to run through 2015.
The project is currently in its sixth year. Work on Theme 1 objectives is coming to a close, while work on Themes 2 and 3 objectives is well underway. Researchers are working with the Auckland Council and Civil Defence to incorporate findings into policy.
DEVORA is a collaborative project involving GNS Science and the University of Auckland. Support is provided by these organisations, the Auckland Council, Massey University and the Earthquake Commission.
The DEVORA management team at the DEVORA launch (l-r): Elaine Smid (UOA), Gill Jolly (GNS Science), Jan Lindsay (UOA), Graham Leonard (GNS Science), Hannah Brackley (GNS Science). Photo by Kathryn Robinson.