Bulletin of Volcanology

, Volume 67, Issue 4, pp 331–339 | Cite as

Volcanic risk ranking for Auckland, New Zealand. I: Methodology and hazard investigation

  • Christina Magill
  • Russell Blong
Research Paper


Volcanic eruptions typically produce a number of hazards, and many regions are at risk from more than one volcano or volcanic field. So that detailed risk assessments can be carried out, it is necessary to rank potential volcanic hazards and events in terms of risk. As it is often difficult to make accurate predictions regarding the characteristics of future eruptions, a method for ranking hazards and events has been developed that does not rely on precise values. Risk is calculated individually for each hazard from each source as the product of likelihood, extent and effect, based on the parameters’ order of magnitude. So that multiple events and outcomes can be considered, risk is further multiplied by the relative probability of the event occurring (probabilitye) and the relative importance of the outcome (importanceo). By adding the values obtained, total risk is calculated and a ranking can be carried out.

This method was used to rank volcanic hazards and events that may impact the Auckland Region, New Zealand. Auckland is at risk from the Auckland volcanic field, Okataina volcanic centre, Taupo volcano, Tuhua volcano, Tongariro volcanic centre, and Mt. Taranaki volcano. Relative probabilities were determined for each event, with the highest given to Mt. Taranaki. Hazards considered were, for local events: tephra fall, scoria fall and ballistic impacts, lava flow, base surge and associated shock waves, tsunami, volcanic gases and acid rain, earthquakes and ground deformation, mudflows and mudfills, lightning and flooding; and for distal events: tephra fall, pyroclastic flows, poisonous gases and acid rain, mudflows and mudfills, climate variations and earthquakes. Hazards from each source were assigned values for likelihood, with the largest for tephra fall from all sources, earthquakes and ground deformation, lava flows, scoria fall and base surge for an Auckland eruption on land, and earthquakes and ground deformation from an Auckland eruption in the ocean. The largest values for extent were for tephra fall and climate variation from each of the distal centres. However, these parameters do not give a true indication of risk. In a companion paper the effect of each hazard is fully investigated and the risk ranking completed.


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



We would like to thank Professor John McAneney and Dr. Keping Chen for helpful reviews of an early draft, and Dr. Ian Smith for valuable discussions. The manuscript has benefited from reviews and advice from Dr. David Johnston, Dr. Steve Oldfield, and an anonymous referee. Risk Frontiers is grateful for the strong support of a number of sponsors in the insurance industry. This work was completed while Christina Magill was holding a Macquarie University Research Award for Areas and Centres of Excellence (RAACE).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Risk FrontiersMacquarie UniversityAustralia

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