Auckland’s volcanic risk: could that happen?
As a cloud of ash rained down on Ferndale, many watching from their couches were stunned.
Thursday’s feature-length Shortland Street episode saw a volcanic eruption shoot ash into the sky and shower Ferndale with rocks and toxic gas. For weeks, the show’s producers hinted about a ’’cataclysmic event’’. But how realistic was the scenario? Could an Auckland volcano erupt, and would it look anything like that?
Eruptions are considered a ‘‘very real hazard’’ for Auckland, according to Civil Defence. More than 50 volcanoes lie in the Auckland Volcanic Field (AVF), stretching 360sq km across the city. Scarier still, no one knows when disaster will hit.
Volcanologist Brad Scott was consulted by South Pacific Pictures regarding the episode and scored it 8/10 for its technical credibility. Its portrayal of ash, rock showers, toxic gas and downed power lines, was correct. But Scott said there was a lack in showing official response from emergency services.
‘‘But let’s not knock them, this is television,’’ Scott said.
Volcanic hazard and risk modeller for Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Natalia Deligne said that despite years of research, they ‘‘have no idea’’ when, or where, Auckland’s next eruption will be. The most recent eruption, Rangitoto, was 600 years ago.
In Shortland Street’s explosive 25th anniversary episode a volcanic eruption devistated the city, but could that happen in Auckland?