Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Out and about - Auckland

I recently traveled up to Auckland to speak at the annual 'Planning for a volcanic crisis' short course - this is a two day course designed for people involved in all aspects of natural hazard management, emergency managers, local council and planners etc.  Auckland is a great place to hold this course as it is built upon a volcanic field made up of over 50 separate volcanoes! 
Volcanoes in NZ

There are three types of volcanoes in New Zealand:
*Cone eg. Ruapehu and Egmont,
*Caldera eg. Taupo,
*Volcanic field eg. Auckland and Northland,

You can find more info on the different types of volcanoes here .  

In Auckland each eruption has occurred at a different location, with a single 'hot spot' of magma about 100km below the city, this means that any new activity will come from a different area - not one of the existing volcanoes. Today most of these volcanoes have been quarried, made into parks or been built on.

The field will probably erupt again as overseas examples show that volcanic fields can last for a very long time (over 1million years) and the Auckland field is only around 250,000yrs old - if it helps volcanic fields typically produce small
infrequent eruptions compared to the other types.    You can get more information, and see how GeoNet monitors the Auckland Volcanic field here

Islington Bay
The last eruption in Auckland was about 600yrs ago at Rangitoto Island, we headed over on a ferry to check it out! We had great weather for the trip as well! 

Rangitoto Island was formed during two eruptions, 600 and 550years ago, it is 260m high and can be seen just North-East of Auckland city.  Thanks to DoC Rangitoto is pest free and also the home to the worlds largest Pohutukawa forest!  

You can see various neat geological features on the island, and even explore lava tunnels. These are formed from paehoehoe lava flows, where the exterior cooled and crusted over creating a tube that allowed the molten lava within to continue flowing, as the lava flow decreased at the end of the eruption, these tunnels were left behind. (if you visit take a torch, sturdy shoes and don't think of wetas!!)

A video of some of the sights below...

Are you prepared?   Get Ready, Get Thru   

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Out and about - Christchurch Day 2

Hi-viz swarm at Brighton
All of the forum attendees donned their hi-viz vests, and a sea of orange and yellow went out to visit sites of interest to see the physical impacts of the earthquake and the progress with recovery.

One of the sites included the (now old) Brighton sub-station which sunk quite a bit due to the liquefaction -you can see in the photos below - a new substation has now been built.

Note the door!

On a slight lean!

Another interesting site we visited was the Bromley Wastewater
treatment plant (just a tad stinky!) Their main problem to face was the large amount of silt coming into the plant, with not much physical damage caused by the actual ground movement.

The various treatment tanks

This was slightly unnerving!

Luckily they had these!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Out and about - Christchurch

Today i am in Christchurch for the annual 'National Lifelines Forum', this is where members from our energy, telecommunications, transportation and water sectors gather and discuss experiences/lessons etc from the past year. Obviously this year there are a lot of discussions on the Canterbury earthquakes and how each sector was damaged and dealt with the various challenges this presented.  GeoNet (including myself) will also be presenting tomorrow.

Going for a walk in the sun at lunchtime,  it was strange to see the beautiful buildings in various pieces, and the skyline full of large cranes, but nice to see the businesses still open - even if they had to move to quirky temporary sites.

One place that i was please to see open was the Canterbury museum, where I popped in to visit a friend, he kindly took me around and showed what little damage the museum sustained, thanks to extensive earthquake-proofing some years ago, i also got a sneak peek at an upcoming exhibit -  Hearts for Christchurch "which showcases an amazing array of more than 4,000 stitch-craft hearts from around the world. The project of an inspirational Napier woman, Evie Harris, who started creating and gathering the hearts after the February earthquake."

I then went to see the new 'container mall' at Cashel street, it is amazing and it was great to see so many people out enjoying the sun and shopping.
Pics below . . .

Cute Kia Kaha 'flower'
Arts Centre

Cashel St  'Container Mall'
Bridge of Remembrance