Threat assessment of New Zealand's volcanoes and their current and future monitoring requirements

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Miller, C.A. 2011 Threat assessment of New Zealand's volcanoes and their current and future monitoring requirements Lower Hutt, N.Z.: GNS Science. GNS Science report 2010/55 45 p.

Abstract: Volcano monitoring in New Zealand is undertaken by GeoNet funded by the EQC. This report presents a review of the current state of volcano monitoring in New Zealand, benchmarked against a similar review undertaken by the USGS in 2005 for the United States volcanoes. Following the USGS methodology, a threat assessment of 16 New Zealand volcanoes has been undertaken. The methodology has been adjusted slightly for New Zealand conditions and an additional ranking factor has been introduced. The methodology then groups volcanoes based on their threat level from Very High Threat to Very Low Threat groups and recommends appropriate monitoring levels for each group. The New Zealand volcanoes are grouped independently of the USA volcanoes to provide an assessment tailored to New Zealand conditions. Most of the New Zealand volcanoes are grouped into lower threat groups than if they had been directly compared to similar scoring USA counterparts. This implies that the recommended monitoring levels for New Zealand volcanoes are the minimum that should then be applied. Volcano monitoring in New Zealand benefits from being part of the larger GeoNet project in terms of a robust IT infrastructure and data management centres. It also benefits from extensive regional seismic and geodetic coverage outside the volcanic areas, allowing background tectonic signals to be well characterised. In this respect the New Zealand volcanic regions are better monitored than their United States counterparts. A gap analysis is presented to show the current state of monitoring at each volcano and highlight what additional monitoring is required for the volcano to meet its recommended level. Most New Zealand volcanoes are within 1 level of their recommended level however Taranaki and Auckland are 2 levels below, largely because of inadequate geodetic monitoring. Taranaki and Auckland are the two highest priority targets for future work. A prioritised list has been developed for all volcanoes and from this it is possible to develop a work plan for future years.(auth)