Volcanic risk ranking for Auckland, New Zealand. II: hazard consequences and risk calculation

Christina Magill*, Russell Blong

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


In a companion paper, a methodology for ranking volcanic hazards and events in terms of risk was presented, and the likelihood and extent of potential hazards in the Auckland Region, New Zealand investigated. In this paper, the effects of each hazard are considered and the risk ranking completed. Values for effect are proportions of total loss and, as with likelihood and extent, are based on order of magnitude. Two outcomes were considered - building damage and loss of human life. In terms of building damage, tephra produces the highest risk by an order of magnitude, followed by lava flows and base surge. For loss of human life, risk from base surge is highest. The risks from pyroclastic flows and tsunami are an order of magnitude smaller. When combined, tephra fall followed by base surge produces the highest risk. The risks from lava flows and pyroclastic flows are an order of magnitude smaller. For building damage, the risk from Mt. Taranaki volcano, 280 km from the Auckland CBD, is largest, followed by Okataina volcanic centre, an Auckland volcanic field eruption centred on land, then Tongariro volcanic centre. In terms of human loss, the greatest risk is from an Auckland eruption centred on land. The risks from an Auckland eruption centred in the ocean, Okataina volcanic centre, and Taupo volcano are more than an order of magnitude smaller. When combined, the risk from Mt. Taranaki remains highest, followed by an Auckland eruption centred on land. The next largest risks are from the Okataina and Tongariro volcanic centres, followed by Taupo volcano. Three alternative situations were investigated. As multiple eruptions may occur from the Auckland volcanic field, it was assumed that a local event would involve two eruptions. This increased risk of a local eruption occurring on land so that it was equal to that of an eruption from Mt. Taranaki. It is possible that a future eruption may be of a similar, or larger size, to the previous Rangitoto eruption. Risk was re-calculated for local eruptions based on the extent of hazards from Rangitoto. This increased the risk of lava flow to greater than that of base surge, and the risk from an Auckland land eruption became greatest. The relative probabilities used for Mt. Taranaki volcano and the Auckland volcanic field may only be minimum values. When the probability of these occurring was increased by 50%, there was no change in either ranking.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)340-349
Number of pages10
JournalBulletin of Volcanology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2005


  • Auckland region
  • Auckland volcanic field
  • Mt. Taranaki
  • Multiple hazards
  • Risk assessment
  • Taupo volcanic zone
  • Volcanic loss


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