Social and economic consequences of historic caldera unrest at the Taupo volcano, New Zealand and the management of future episodes of unrest

  • David Johnston Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Taupo, New Zealand
  • Brad Scott Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Taupo, New Zealand
  • Bruce Houghton Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Taupo, New Zealand
  • Douglas Paton Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand
  • David Dowrick GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • Pilar Villamor GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand https://orcid.org/0000-0002-9541-290X
  • John Savage Consulting Economist, Wellington, New Zealand

Abstract

In 1998, changes in a number of indicators (earthquakes and uplift) at two of New Zealand's active volcanic caldera systems (Okataina and Taupo) resulted in increased public, local and central government awareness and some concern about the potential significance of volcanic unrest at a caldera volcano. This paper summarises the episodes of unrest recorded at Taupo caldera since 1895. There have been four significant events (1895, 1922, 1963-64 and 1983) that have included earthquake activity and ground deformation. Caldera unrest is one of the most difficult situations the volcanological and emergency management communities will have to deal with. There is potential for adverse social and economic impacts to escalate unnecessarily, unless the event is managed appropriately. Adverse response to caldera unrest may take the form of the release of inappropriate advice, media speculation, unwarranted emergency declarations and premature cessation of economic activity and community services. A non-volcanic-crisis time provides the best opportunity to develop an understanding of the caldera unrest phenomena, and the best time to establish educational programmes, funding systems for enhanced emergency response and volcano surveillance and to develop co-ordinated contingency plans.

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Published
2002-12-31
How to Cite
Johnston, D., Scott, B., Houghton, B., Paton, D., Dowrick, D., Villamor, P., & Savage, J. (2002). Social and economic consequences of historic caldera unrest at the Taupo volcano, New Zealand and the management of future episodes of unrest . Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 35(4), 215-230. https://doi.org/10.5459/bnzsee.35.4.215-230
Section
Articles

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