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Calbuco 2015 eruption impacts

On April 22nd 2015, Calbuco volcano in Chile erupted affecting many communities in Chile and Argentina. In November-December 2016, I was part of a multidisciplinary and multi-national research team that investigated the societal impacts of this eruption.

Clean-up of urban areas after volcanic eruptions

Cleaning up after volcanic eruptions is a critical aspect of response and recovery. This research investigates how authorities can go about planning for disaster waste clean-up after volcanic eruptions.


Risk Assessment Handbook

Published in GNS Science Miscellaneous Series, 2015

A handbook on the basics of risk assessment

Recommended citation: Rovins, J.E., Wilson, T.M., Hayes, J., Jensen, S.J., Dohaney, J., Mitchell, J., Johnston, D.M., Davies, A. (2015). "Risk Assessment Handbook." GNS Science Miscellaneous Series. 84 67p.

Investigating the consequences of urban volcanism using a scenario approach I: Development and application of a hypothetical eruption in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand

Published in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2017

A detailed multi-hazard scenario for an Auckland Volcanic Field eruption.

Recommended citation: Deligne, N.I., Fitzgerald, R.H., Blake, D.M., Davies, A.J., Hayes, J.L., Stewart, C., Wilson, G., Wilson, T.M., Castelino, R., Kennedy, B.M., Muspratt, S., Woods, R. (2017). "Investigating the consequences of urban volcanism using a scenario approach I: Development and application of a hypothetical eruption in the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 336:192-208.

Timber-framed building damage from tephra fall and lahar: 2015 Calbuco eruption, Chile

Published in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2019

This paper analyses a building damage dataset from the 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano.

Recommended citation: Hayes, J.L., Calderon, R., Wilson, T.M., Deligne, N.I., Leonard, G., Jenkins, S.F., Williams, G. (2019). "Timber-framed building damage from tephra fall and lahar: 2015 Calbuco eruption, Chile." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 374:142-159.

Tephra clean-up after the 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano, Chile: a quantitative geospatial assessment in four communities

Published in Journal of Applied Volcanology, 2019

This paper presents an overview of tephra clean-up activies following the 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano, Chile.

Recommended citation: Hayes, J.L., Wilson, T.M., Deligne, N.I., Stewart C., Villarosa, G., Salgado, P., Beigt D., Outes, V., Deligne, N.I., Leonard G.S.. (2019). "Tephra clean-up after the 2015 eruption of Calbuco volcano, Chile: a quantitative geospatial assessment in four communities." Journal of Applied Volcanology. 8(7).

Developing a suite of multi-hazard volcanic eruption scenarios using an interdisciplinary approach

Published in Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 2020

Suite of multi-hazard eruption scenarios were developed for the Auckland Volcanic Field, New Zealand.

Recommended citation: Hayes, J.L., Wilson, T.M., Deligne, N.I., Lindsay, J.M., Leonard, G.S., Tsang, S.W.R., Fitzgerald, R.H. (2020). " Developing a suite of multi-hazard volcanic eruption scenarios using an interdisciplinary approach." Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research. 392:106763.


A multi-disciplinary approach to developing a volcanic eruption scenario and temporal evolution of impacts to critical infrastructure


Auckland, New Zealand is the economic hub and the most populous city in New Zealand. Problematically, it is also built on the monogenetic Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF), meaning a future volcanic eruption is possible anywhere within the 360 km2 areal extent. When compared to other perils (e.g. earthquakes, floods, and hurricanes), volcanic impact and risk assessments are poorly developed. This is primarily due to volcanic eruptions having the potential to last for long durations with multiple interacting hazards occurring during an eruption sequence. To explore the consequences of an AVF eruption, we developed the ‘Mt Rūaumoko’ geophysical scenario lasting one month in duration to evaluate impacts and restoration time for various critical infrastructure sectors. To describe and quantify the impact of “Mt Rūaumoko” to Auckland’s infrastructure, we applied vulnerability models developed from 20 years of New Zealand-led volcanic impact reconnaissance trips, historical volcanic impact documentation and controlled laboratory testing. Importantly, we met with over 20 Auckland Lifelines Group members (a voluntary group of infrastructure providers in Auckland) who have a profound knowledge of Auckland’s infrastructure networks, systems requirements, and capabilities to check our level of service estimates for the entirety of the scenario. We present rail as an example of the work carried out for all infrastructure sectors. Our study is the most comprehensive consideration to date of the societal consequences of an AVF eruption and highlights the wide-ranging and surprising impacts such an event could impose on New Zealand’s largest city. Our findings will be used as a case study for the economic modelling, which will inform public policy on choices for new infrastructure resilience investments.

Cleaning up urban areas after tephra fall: considerations for modelling and contingency planning


Volcanic eruptions impact urban communities by disrupting transport systems, contaminating and damaging buildings and infrastructures, and are potentially hazardous to human health. Coordinated clean-up operations have demonstratively reduced the impacts that urban communities can experience. Therefore, prompt and effective clean-up measures are an essential component of an urban community’s response and recovery to volcanic eruptions. However, clean-up operations are seldom considered within volcanic response or contingency plans. In order to provide a starting point for communities exposed to tephra fall to begin planning for clean-up, we present the key considerations for planning clean-up operations based on a global review of clean-up operations. These considerations cover a wide range of contexts (e.g. eruption size, duration, urban fabric, and infrastructure dependencies) so that communities can adapt advice for their specific local setting. We then use this information to develop a model to assess the volume of tephra to remove during clean-up operations, as well as the potential cost and duration of eruptions within the Auckland Volcanic Field. Finally, we suggest that our approach can be undertaken to assess the potential clean-up requirements in other cities around the world exposed to tephra fall.

Embracing deep uncertainties to transparently develop plausible eruption scenarios for volcanic impact and risk assessment


Volcanic eruptions are multi-hazard events that cause a variety of impacts to exposed societies. One challenge scientists face is communicating intricate interactions between various eruption hazards and societal elements. Complex eruption scenarios that include multiple likely eruption hazards have been found to be an effective tool for communicating this information. These eruption scenarios are of relevance to end-users because they provide a more in-depth picture of a potential future eruption than those analyses that focus on a single eruption hazard. However, deep uncertainties within the analysis must be addressed to unravel the multifaceted interactions between an eruption and societal elements for the development of scenarios. Deep uncertainty manifests when probabilities of an event are poorly constrained, unknown, or unknowable. How can volcanic risk analysts provide appropriate decision support when fundamental probabilistic relationships are unknown or at best poorly understood? What if you must rely on limited information or case studies to develop scenarios? What are the implications if fundamental assumptions or scientific data the analysis heavily relies on turn out to be incorrect? These are some of the challenges volcanic hazard / impact / risk analysts must overcome to develop multi-hazard volcanic eruption scenarios and impact assessments. Here, we propose a transparent and structured framework for scenario development that provides guidance for analysts to not only develop robust hazard, impact and risk scenarios in the face of deep uncertainty, but to also ensure that they accurately report and communicate findings to end-users and the research community. Our approach borrows concepts from traditional gap-analysis methodologies where we identify and rank the degree of scientific knowledge the scenarios are based on. We demonstrate how this process has been used to develop seven new eruption scenarios in the Auckland Volcanic Field.

Clean-up of urban areas after volcanic eruptions


A ubiquitous challenge of disaster response and recovery is managing disaster waste. Past volcanic related disasters have demonstrated that these events can create enormous volumes of different types of waste, at times overwhelming existing solid waste management systems. Despite this, disaster waste management is rarely planned prior to a disaster. When disaster waste planning is (exceptionally) conducted, volcanic hazards are often omitted – we suspect because disaster waste management is generally absent from volcanic impact and risk assessments. This omission is problematic as volcanic hazards can present unique challenges that other natural hazards (e.g. earthquake, hurricane, flooding) are unlikely to exhibit. For example, a common strategy is to simply remove hazard-related material, yet the insulating properties of lava mean it can take months to years for lava flows to completely cool down. Consequently, removal may need to be delayed or not undertaken at all. Additionally, uncertainty associated with whether an eruption is over means there can be a substantial amount of time before it is deemed sufficiently safe for personnel to enter a heavily damaged area to begin clean-up operations. Here, we present a multi-volcanic hazard assessment approach to identifying the effects of volcanic hazards on disaster waste management systems. We use case studies to explore these effects and develop a suite of semi-quantitative indicators to assist post-disaster clean-up decision-making. We demonstrate how these indicators can be used by applying them to Auckland Volcanic Field eruption scenarios for the city of Auckland, New Zealand to assess implications for disaster waste management systems. Our work will be beneficial for risk-reduction, emergency response and recovery managers to understand clean-up and restoration requirements for urban areas affected by volcanism.


Geodynamics and Geohazards (Geol354)

Undergraduate course, University of Canterbury, Department of Geological Sciences, 2018

Delivering lectures for the volcanic risk assessment and management module