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New deep seismic recorder will improve Auckland volcano readiness 11 May 2008

Posted by admin in Auckland, natural hazards, New Zealand, volcano monitoring, volcanology.
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GNS Science in New Zealand is improving its seismic network around the city of Auckland with the installation of the first of a network of deep seismic recorders in a 250m-deep disused borehole at Riverhead, about 20km north-west of the city of Auckland. At the moment a seismic network of five surface instruments is dedicated to picking up signs of volcanic unrest around the city.

[GeoNet Volcano Network Coordinator Craig Miller] said while the earthquake hazard in Auckland is not high by New Zealand standards, the focus of the recording instruments in Auckland was on small earthquakes that might precede a volcanic eruption. ‘By getting away from human ground noise, a borehole recorder will enable better data to be collected that can be used to give timely warning of a possible future volcanic eruption in Auckland.’

The new deep instrument, shielded from surface noise and more sensitive to small tremors, brings the network to six, and GNS Science plans to install more deep instruments in boreholes around Auckland in the near future.

For all our New Zealand coverage: New Zealand << The Volcanism Blog

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Auckland – summary information for the Auckland volcanic field (0401-02=)

News
New recorder boosts earthquake, volcano warningsNZ Herald, 11 May 2008
Borehole instrument boosts earthquake monitoring in Auckland – GNS Science press release, 9 May 2008

The Volcanism Blog

Ruapehu: ‘no imminent threat of eruption’ 6 May 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, New Zealand, Ruapehu.
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Radio New Zealand quotes GNS Science volcanologist Craig Miller as saying that there is no imminent threat of eruption at Mount Ruapehu, despite recent increases in activity at the volcano. Meanwhile the New Zealand Department of Conservation continues to warn that ‘an increase in gas output and the internal temperature of the volcano represent an anomalous state of activity’ and that any further eruptions ‘may occur without warning’.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Ruapehu – summary information for Ruapehu (0401-10=)
GeoNet volcanoes – volcano information from GeoNet, the organization responsible for volcano monitoring in New Zealand
GeoNet Volcano Alert bulletins – volcanic activity bulletins from GeoNet

News
No imminent threat of Ruapehu eruption says volcanologist – Radio New Zealand, 4 May 2008

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New Zealand: activity intensifies at Ruapehu 2 May 2008

Posted by admin in activity reports, natural hazards, New Zealand, Ruapehu.
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The New Zealand Department of Conservation issued a statement today, 2 May 2008, warning of increasing activity at Mount Ruapehu, reports The New Zealand Herald (no sign of the statement yet on the DOC media releases page). On 23 April a bulletin from GNS Science warned that the volcano was showing signs of intensified activity, while on 28 April the DOC reported that the volcano was ‘back to normal’ – although they went on to point out that ‘”Normal” for Ruapehu means that it can erupt at any time without warning’.

Ruapehu Crater Lake (GeoNet image)

Above: Ruapehu Crater Lake (GeoNet image).

Ruapehu is one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes. The latest eruption was on 25 September 2007; other recent eruptions took place in 2006 and 1995-6. Lahars are a particular danger at Ruapehu because of the crater lake which forms, fed by melting snow, between eruptions. Phreatic eruptive activity and the destruction of the tephra dam holding back the lake can produce highly destructive lahars, as most recently (but not fatally) in March 2007. A lahar from Ruapehu was the cause of the worst railway disaster in New Zealand history on Christmas Eve 1953 when it swept along the Whangaehu river valley and severely damaged a railway bridge at Tangiwai. An approaching train could not be stopped in time and plunged into the river: 151 people were killed.

Information
Global Volcanism Program: Ruapehu – summary information for Ruapehu (0401-10=)
GeoNet volcanoes – volcano information from GeoNet, the organization responsible for volcano monitoring in New Zealand
GeoNet Volcano Alert bulletins – volcanic activity bulletins from GeoNet

News
Mt Ruapehu shows signs of eruptingNew Zealand Herald, 2 May 2008
Mt Ruapehu showing signs of volcanic activity – tvnz.co.nz, 2 May 2008
Volcanic activity intensified on Mt Ruapehu – Radio New Zealand, 2 May 2008

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Monowai: an active submarine volcano 28 March 2008

Posted by admin in New Zealand, Pacific, submarine volcanism, volcano monitoring.
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From Stuff.co.nz comes a report that a New Zealand volcano is currently erupting. About 1000 kilometres north-east of the North Island of New Zealand is the NZ territory of the Kermadec Islands, and the active volcano concerned is located underwater a further 600 kilometres north of them. Monowai, a seamount, which was only confirmed as a volcano in 1977 (after a survey carried out by HMNZS Monowai), has apparently been erupting regularly over recent years and may have collapsed in on itself in May 2002, in a manner similar to Mount St Helens. Most recently the seamount produced a ‘large seismic event’ on 8 February which was recorded by Laboratoire de Geophysique scientists in French Polynesia.

Information
Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program – summary information for Monowai Seamount (0402-05-)
New Zealand American Submarine Ring of Fire 2005 Expedition – investigated submarine volcanoes including Monowai

News
NZ volcano erupting – under water – Stuff.co.nz, 28 March 2008

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Exercise Ruaumoko tests NZ volcano readiness 8 March 2008

Posted by admin in natural hazards, New Zealand, volcano culture.
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Exercise Ruaumoko is currently under way in Auckland, New Zealand. The exercise, which began in November 2007, aims to ‘test New Zealand’s all-of-nation arrangements for responding to a major disaster resulting from an impending volcanic eruption in Auckland’ and involves 100 local governmental, civil defence, emergency response and other organizations. The main exercise days are on 13 and 14 March 2008.

Exercise Ruaumoko ’08 web site – main site for information about the exercise
GeoNet – Exercise Ruaumoko – NZ Government geosciences site for the exercise
CDEM Exercises – Exercise Ruaumoko background information – from the NZ Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management

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Buried volcano found in the Panmure Basin, New Zealand 21 February 2008

Posted by admin in Auckland, current research, New Zealand, volcanology.
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A previously unknown volcano has been discovered in the Auckland volcanic field in the North Island of New Zealand. A team from the government-owned geophysical research company GNS Science and the University of Auckland have been drilling and analyzing core samples as part of an investigation of Auckland’s volcanic past. One of their drill cores revealed the presence of a scoria cone within the Panmure Basin, itself the mouth of a volcano that erupted around 28,000 years ago. Another drill core contained 2.6m of ash apparently erupted from nearby Mount Wellington some 9,200 years ago. From the GNS Science press release, 22 February 2008:

Scientists from both organisations, including Phil Shane, Ian Smith and Paul Augustinus of The University of Auckland, will now analyse the chemistry of the drill cores to determine the date and the source of each eruption. They will also try to determine the age of the scoria cone.

Project leader Graham Leonard, a volcanologist with GNS Science, said finding what appears to be a new volcanic cone inside  Panmure Basin was a very exciting result. 

‘Most of Auckland’s volcanoes have erupted only once, with the possible exception of  Rangitoto. We will now analyse the core to see if Panmure volcano should be added to the list’, Dr Leonard said.

It was also important to learn more about the Mount Wellington eruption, as it appeared to be the second most recent Auckland eruption, behind Rangitoto which erupted about 650 years ago.

The Auckland volcanic field is around 140km3 in extent and encompasses more than 50 maars, tuff rings, small lava shields and scoria cones formed over the past 140,000 years. The most recent eruptive activity, the Rangitoto eruption which formed Rangitoto Island, is believed to have taken place c.1350 AD.

Information
Smithsonian Institution Global Volcanism Program – summary information for the Auckland volcanic field (0401-02=)

News
Geologists find buried volcano inside Panmure Basin – GNS Science press release, 22 February 2008
New Auckland volcano discoveredNZ Herald, 22 February 2008
Buried volcano found in Panmure Basin – tvnz.co.nz, 22 February 2008
Buried volcano found in Panmure Basin – Radio New Zealand News, 22 February 2008

The Volcanism Blog