Preparing for a volcanic eruption

  • Breaking
  • 27/09/2013

Auckland is the only large city in the world built directly on top of a volcanic field, so Auckland Council and Civil Defence are working on plans for when - not if - an eruption occurs.

The news is good and bad. There will be another volcanic eruption in the city.

"The start of the eruption will be explosive, there will be rocks chucked around and ballistics types stuff," says GNS Science volcanologist Brad Scott. "It may go on and build a volcanic cone, and create lava flows and we know some lava flows have flowed many kilometres here in Auckland."

Reassuringly there should be a decent warning - at the very least a few days.

"That's one of the good things about volcanoes - they always put their hand up and give you some sort of warning and our challenge is to interpret that warning, to spot it coming and to do something with it," says Mr Scott.

He was just one of a dozen speakers at a forum discussing volcanic risk in Auckland today. They're all trying to plan for the inevitable, but that's not easy to do.

Auckland is built on 56 volcanoes and a new one could crop up anywhere and at any time within the existing volcanic field. A worst-case scenario would see half a million people evacuated.

"Hopefully by the time there is ash and rocks falling we would have evacuated those areas," says Civil Defence's Clive Manley. "What the public has to realise is there is a lot of thought, a lot of science into the order to evacuate and they have to trust that decision."

Mr Manley is tasked with making sure plans are place and then running the city after a disaster.

"It's a very low risk but we have to plan because it is going to happen one day," he says.

"After the initial turmoil life would be able to continue around the volcano."

However, any eruption could last several years.

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source: newshub archive