A probabilistic assessment of eruption recurrence on Taveuni volcano, Fiji
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Taveuni, a 437-km2 oceanic intraplate volcano in the northeastern Fiji Group, has been active throughout the Holocene and currently has a rapidly growing population. Alkali basalt magmas were erupted through monogenetic vents at constantly shifting locations along a SW-striking rift zone. Hence, quantification of volcanic hazard, in both spatial and temporal terms, is of great importance for disaster management and development agencies. Unlike previous probabilistic assessments of hazards in volcanic fields, the activity on Taveuni is both more recent and on a lesser spatial scale. This enables us to focus our attention on different aspects of the analysis. In particular, we propose a first attempt at dealing with the imprecision and inaccuracy inherent in volcanic eruption age data obtained via radiocarbon dating. Our results indicate that volcanic activity on Taveuni has a tendency to occur in episodes. If this tendency is strong, the present hazard may be considerably greater than otherwise supposed. We also confirm an apparent tendency for the volcanic activity to migrate southwards along the Taveuni rift axis towards the most densely settled area, and also the widest axial vent zone. This indicates that the risk from volcanic activity is again higher than might otherwise be supposed. We estimate a Taveuni-wide probability of0.56 for renewed activity within the next 50 years. Such quantitative results can be utilised within loss estimations during the planning stages of new infrastructure and business developments at various locations on the island.
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