VolcaNZ - A volcanic loss model for Auckland, New Zealand

Christina Magill*, Russell Blong, John McAneney

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


VolcaNZ is a probabilistic volcanic loss model developed for the Auckland Region in New Zealand that currently considers tephra fall hazards from the Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF), Tuhua volcano, Okataina volcanic centre, Taupo volcano, Tongariro volcanic centre and Egmont volcano. In this first version of the model, structural and non-structural damage to residential building envelopes and associated cleanup costs are calculated using Monte Carlo simulation. VolcaNZ assigns a Minimum and Maximum Damage Value to groups of buildings for every simulation, dependent on tephra thickness. A Central Damage Value, representing loss as a percentage of total replacement cost, is then randomly selected between these limits. Even with small-thickness falls, non-structural damage is expected to roof and wall coatings, air-conditioning units, aerials and satellite dishes due to the corrosive and abrasive properties of tephra. An average loss of $583, attributed to non-structural damage, was assigned to all residential buildings impacted by any thickness of tephra greater than 0.1 mm. The costs of tephra removal from buildings, cleaning of building exteriors and tephra transport and disposal are also calculated within the model, assuming much of the cleanup process will be carried out by homeowners. Losses from all simulations are plotted against calculated Average Recurrence Intervals (ARIs) to produce loss curves. Structural damage does not become apparent until ARIs of approximately 8000 years. $1 billion losses, due to structural damage, occur at about 35,000 years and this increases to about $26 billion at 1 million years. Loss due to non-structural damage is constant at approximately $160 million for ARIs above about 600 years. Between 600 and 3000 years, cleanup loss is approximately $50 million, increasing to over $450 million at a return period of 1 million years. At ARIs between 600 and 3000 years, total loss is approximately $210 million, increasing to $10 billion at 100,000 years and over $26 billion at 1 million years. Because we only consider residential building damage and associated cleanup, these values greatly underestimate total loss from the next volcanic event to impact Auckland. Loss calculations will be improved by adding additional hazard and loss modules to VolcaNZ, resulting in a complete catastrophe loss model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)329-345
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jan 2006


Dive into the research topics of 'VolcaNZ - A volcanic loss model for Auckland, New Zealand'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this