Multistage volcanic events: tephra hazard simulations for the Okataina Volcanic Center, New Zealand

Susanna Jenkins*, Christina Magill, John McAneney, Tony Hurst

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


While volcanic events are commonly characterized by multiple eruptive stages, most probabilistic tephra hazard analyses only simulate the major (paroxysmal) stage. In this study, we reconsider this simplified treatment by comparing hazard outcomes from simulated single- and multistage eruption sequences, using the Okataina Volcanic Center (OVC) in New Zealand as a case study. Our study draws upon geological evidence particular to the OVC as well as generalized patterns of eruptive behavior from other analogous volcanic centers. Exceedance probabilities of simulated tephra thickness, the cumulative duration of explosive behavior, and the duration of the entire eruptive sequence were all compared. Multistage simulations show an increased hazard with the greatest differences lying close to the vent for long duration and high thickness thresholds and at intermediate distances between the vent and the maximum extent of the deposit for lower thickness and duration thresholds. Multiple explosive stages increase the likelihood of an event lasting longer than 1 month by up to sevenfold and, for given low-probability events, accumulated tephra thicknesses in some locations may increase by 1 order of magnitude and impact up to 22% more of New Zealand's North Island. Given our understanding of the eruptive history of the Okataina Volcanic Center, multistage simulations provide a better understanding of the potential hazard from this source.

Original languageEnglish
Article numberF04012
Pages (from-to)1-16
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Geophysical Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Dec 2008


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