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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  1. I remember when I was very young, that there was supposed to be a tsunami in Adelaide. So our Premier at the time, Don Dunstan, went out to Glenelg Jetty to prove to the good people of my fair city that there was nothing to worry about and if there was, well, he’d be the first to go down in a blaze of glory. While wearing a lovely salmon-pink safari summer suit, so short shorts and short sleeve jacket. Lovely.
    So my father, in his wisdom as a true conspiracy nut, decided to ship the women and chillens (mum and me) up to the country in a vaguely WWII-esque plan of saving us. We went up into the Adelaide Hills to stay with my grandmother who was living in Stirling at the time. Which is… dun dun dun… half an hour’s drive by very slow bus from the center of the city.
    Needless to say, there was no tsunami and Adelaide and its jazzily clad Premiere did not go down in a blaze of blue sea water and creatures from the deep. But it did give mum and I a nice little weekend away in the country, and dad a weekend of planning for the Apocalypse.
    In 1979.

    • Well, there was a tsunami warning here on Sunday morning. Which I found out about on the news. At 6pm. Excellent tsunami warning system, New Zealand!
      While wearing a lovely salmon-pink safari summer suit, so short shorts and short sleeve jacket.
      God love the 70s. And your dad sure loves his conspiracy theories, doesn’t he?

  2. And now, your question. (Since I’ve shared that little trip down Star’s memory lane with you!)
    if the world as we knew it was changed irrevocably, through whatever means, how would we survive?
    Apart from people who are back-to-nature people for a hobby (there’s a word but it currently escapes me, they have caches of weapons and practise food storage and living off the land type thing. Oh wait, survivalists!) anyone with a good grasp of how to live in a situation of going back to basics could do it. Which is where I am thankful for my old hobby of reenacting because if the revolution comes and the Apocalypse with it, once the dust settles, I know how to hunt, gather and dress game, how to start a fire with flint and tinder, how to find places to sleep and all that jazz. Would I want to? Not particuarly. I like my creature comforts way too much. But if there was no alternative, sure, I could do it.
    So basically, humanity needs to make friends with survivalists or reenactors. Or ex and current military and scouts.

    • So basically, humanity needs to make friends with survivalists or reenactors. Or ex and current military and scouts.
      That certainly seems sensible. Depending on what wiped us out though, there might not be any game to eat at all, or it might be unsafe to eat. It’s an interesting question to ponder.

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