Apocalypse now. Or quite soon, anyway.

February 14, 2010 at 8:40 pm | Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments
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It’s valentine’s day in my part of the world, so naturally this is the day when a young person’s (or not so young person, as the case may be *cough*) thoughts turn to the apocalypse.

Before I moved to New Zealand, I had no idea that Auckland sits on an active hot spot of magma that’s only about 100 km underneath the city.


The type of volcanic activity which has created the Auckland volcanic field is referred to as monogenetic which means that each time there has been an eruption it has occurred at a new location and that each eruption is the result of a single batch of magma which rises from its source in the mantle about 100km beneath the city.

The monogenetic nature of Auckland’s volcanoes has particular implications for volcanic hazards because in the event of an eruption, rather than one of the existing volcanoes becoming active, a new volcano will form. Because of this situation, a hazard map based on any one location cannot be drawn and the entire field has to be considered as under a threat of a future volcanic eruption.

Although it is at least 600 years since the last eruption in the Auckland volcanic field, there is every reason to expect eruptions in the future.

These eruptions are likely to be on a small scale compared with some recent overseas eruptions, but because the city of Auckland is built on and around potential eruption sites their effects are likely to be serious.


The volcanoes in Auckland are everywhere. For instance, there’s Mount Eden. Or Mangere mountain. Or Rangitoto, which I can see every day when I go for my walk, from the top of my street.

As if that’s not bad enough, my hairdresser – a volcano nut, who I saw yesterday – tells me that there have been quite a few earthquakes in the Hauraki Gulf over the past couple of months, which is of course indicative of potential volcanic activity. He says that he’s sure that we’ll see a new volcano forming off Auckland’s coast at some point during the next year or two. He says that if that happens, while everyone is being evacuated, he will be in his car, driving toward the volcano. He is SUCH a boy.

If that happens, I will be in my car as well, but I’ll be bawling my eyes out and driving as fast as I can to the airport, on my way back to a CIVILISED country (i.e., AUSTRALIA), where we don’t have to watch out for random LAVA FLOWS, for God’s sake.

Which brings me, in a roundabout way, to the apocalypse. There’s been a rash of apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic movies and books around lately, from 2012 to The Road. It doesn’t actually surprise me, given that you only have to turn on the TV to see that the world’s pretty much going to hell in a handbasket, and I don’t think it’s a coincidence that the number of stories concerned with the end of the world as we know it is increasing as the number of reports of how we’re running our planet into the ground increase. It’s the ultimate what-if, in a way – if the world as we knew it was changed irrevocably, through whatever means, how would we survive? Presuming we weren’t wiped out completely, of course, and even then something would likely evolve to replace us. Or would we escape, build space arks or something and carry ourselves away, missing the destruction completely? It’s an interesting question, and I’m looking forward to seeing what people come up with to answer it.


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