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

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. http://doi.org/10.1016/j.jvolgeores.2017.02.0232

What happens when a city has a volcanic eruption within its boundaries? To explore the consequences of this rare but potentially catastrophic combination, we develop a detailed multi-hazard scenario of an Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF) eruption; the AVF underlies New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland. We start with an existing AVF unrest scenario sequence and develop it through a month-long hypothetical eruption based on geologic investigations of the AVF and historic similar eruptions from around the world. We devise a credible eruption sequence and include all volcanic hazards that could occur in an AVF eruption. In consultation with Civil Defence and Emergency Management staff, we create a series of evacuation maps for before, during, and after the hypothetical eruption sequence. Our result is a versatile scenario with many possible applications, developed further in companion papers that explore eruption consequences on transportation and water networks. However, here we illustrate one application: evaluating the consequences of an eruption on electricity service provision. In a collaborative approach between scientists and electricity service providers, we evaluate the impact of the hypothetical eruption to electricity generation, transmission, and distribution infrastructure. We then evaluate how the impacted network functions, accounting for network adaptations (e.g., diverting power away from evacuated areas), site access, and restoration factors. We present a series of regional maps showing areas with full service, rolling outages, and no power as a result of the eruption. This illustrative example demonstrates how a detailed scenario can be used to further understand the ramifications of urban volcanism on local and regional populations, and highlights the importance of looking beyond damage to explore the consequences of volcanism.

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