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Team Wins Funding for New Collaborative Project with Korea

15 January 2009

Jeju Island
Jeju Island, South Korea

An NZ team, led by researchers from the Volcanic Risk Solutions group, have been awarded $966k from the Foundation for Research, Science and Technology to work with scientists from South Korea on a project looking at volcanic fields. The project, funded through FRST’s International Investment Opportunity Fund, will develop statistical and economic models of the likelihood and impacts of future volcanic eruptions in the Auckland region.

The team will use an innovative ‘sister volcano’ approach to look into the future of the Auckland Volcanic Field. Jeju Island in South Korea is an ideal sibling for the AVF. It is geologically and economically matched, and yet the volcanism is up to 5 times older, which gives a future perspective on the AVF. Our Korean partners, led by Professor Young Kwan Sohn from the Gyeongsang National University, have access to a deep-geological drilling programme on Jeju which will provide the stretch needed to build a universal volcanic field geological model. From this model, we will incrementally build a broadly applicable probabilistic tool to robustly forecast hazards at a wide range of volcanic fields. By combining this tool with economic futures models, a real strategic improvement in hazard management can be achieved. This research will generate information that can reduce the uncertainty around the location, timing, nature and economic consequences of future eruptions at volcanic fields and improve the confidence with which risk-management decisions can be made by national and regional authorities, businesses and individuals. The results will be drivers for facilitating the development of new volcanic-risk management strategies by key stakeholder groups including the Auckland Engineering Lifelines Group, the Auckland Regional Council, DEVORA and the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management.

The team carrying out this research includes representatives from the University of Auckland (A/Prof Ian Smith, Dr Jan Lindsay), GNS Science (Dr Gill Jolly), Beca Infrastructure Ltd (Ms Michele Daly) and Market Economics Ltd / New Zealand Centre for Ecological Economics (Dr Garry McDonald), as well as Programme Leader A/Prof Shane Cronin, Dr Karoly Nemeth and A/Prof Mark Bebbington from the Volcanic Risk Solutions group at Massey University.