Our Research


Taranaki is the most likely New Zealand volcano to cause national-scale impacts over our lifetimes. Positioned upwind from our most populous regions of Auckland, Waikato and Bay of Plenty, all Taranaki eruptions will disrupt air and surface transport, tourism, farming, power and water supplies. This volcano has a 50% probability of erupting over the next 50 years. Yet the dormancy since Taranaki’s last eruption (~AD1790) is one of its longest. Thus, we have no modern experience of its typically very long eruptions. Past research shows that once Mt. Taranaki starts erupting, it continues for years, decades, or centuries. A recent estimate of the net losses in economic activity from a brief Mt. Taranaki eruption (considering only a subset of potential impacts) is crudely estimated at ~NZ$1.7-4.0 billion of GDP per year, or ~NZ$13-26 billion, for a decade of volcanism.
Our research will build and test the geological, engineering and socio-economic knowledge essential for the New Zealand economy to transition through such an unprecedented level of on-going disruption. Using a novel integration of volcanic scientific knowledge, experimentation and advanced mathematical and economic simulation, we aim to radically cut down uncertainty that hinders decisive hazard and mitigation planning for transitioning to a new state of ongoing hazard. We will demonstrate how robust decisions can be made across space, through time, for multiple stakeholders. In this way we will also discover how to transform New Zealand in the face of continuous change. This requires developing an integrated quantitative understanding of volcanism in order to confidently forecast the volcanic impacts over timeframes suited to socio-economic decision-making.


Our research comprises five interconnected Research Aims (or ‘RAs’). Our programme is led by Shane Cronin and Garry McDonald.


  • Research Aim 1.1 Co-creation processes (led by Tom Wilson/Roger Fairclough) forms our foundation. For the Taranaki context, cocreation involves successive workshops/wānanga where stakeholders stress-test the utility of new decision-support tools, define criteria to select robust strategies, and practice formulating and selecting strategies, all in a collaborative process that favours learning across multiple worldviews.
  • RA1.2 Decision-support for dynamic transition (led by Nicky Smith/Anita Wreford) delivers the tools that enable stakeholders to ex ante identification of key risks, decision points and robust strategies. Defining features will be system-wide consideration of impacts, multi-scale applicability, adaptation to new information, rapid deployment, and stakeholder-led co-design.
  • RA1.3 Leveraging Mātauranga Māori (led by Dee Sciascia/Jon Procter) creates transition pathways for Iwi/hapū communities and businesses impact-based investment cases, by applying new robust probabilistic forecasts and knowledge of volcano behaviour and leveraging decision-support tools. It also establishes Mātauranga-ā-iwi knowledge of volcanic warning and hazard response.
  • RA1.4 Simulating on-going & disruptive volcanism (led by Mark Bebbington/Ting Wang). Quantitative indicators of volcanic potential are tested and refined, then incorporated into novel probabilistic forecasting models for Taranaki volcano. These will encompass a time-varying long-term view, alongside short-term changes during event sequences. By leveraging a range of process-based models of volcanic phenomena, forecasts are also extended to full simulations of geophysical impacts on society/economy, while continually tracking uncertainties.
  • RA1.5 Geochemical tool-chest for hazard forecasting (led by Marco Brenna/Ingrid Ukstins), A new volcanic science discovers parameters that reliably indicate volcanic state and hazard potential, based on magma processes that govern specific eruption outcomes at Taranaki. This includes developing new chemical and physical approaches and experiments to parametrize processes from deep-to-surface settings.


  • Allis, R.G., Armstrong, P.A. & Funnell, R.H. 1995. Implications of a high heat flow anomaly around New Plymouth, North Island, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 38(2), 121-130, Link to article here
  • Childs, C.W., Wells, N., & Downes, C.J. 1986. Kokowai Springs, Mount Egmont, New Zealand: Chemistry and mineralogy of the ochre (ferrihydrite) deposit and analysis of the waters. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 16(1), 85-99, Link to article here
  • Cronin, S.J., Wallace, R.C., & Neall, V.E. 1996. Sourcing and identifying andesitic tephras using major oxide titanomagnetite and hornblende chemistry, Egmont volcano and Tongariro Volcanic Centre, New Zealand, Bulletin of Volcanology, 58, 33-40.
  • Damaschke, M., Cronin, S.J., Holt, K.A., Bebbington, M.S., & Hogg, A.G. 2017. A 30,000 yr high-precision eruption history for the andesitic Mt. Taranaki, North Island, New Zealand. Quaternary Research, 87, 1-23. Link to article here
  • Damaschke, M., Cronin, S.J., Torres-Orozco, R., & Wallace, R.C. 2017. Unifying tephrostratigraphic approaches to redefine major Holocene marker tephras, Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 337, 29-43. Link to article here
  • Damaschke, M., Cronin, S.J., & Bebbington, M.S. 2018. A volcanic event forecasting model for multiple tephra records, demonstrated on Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand. Bulletin of Volcanology, 80:9. Link to article here
  • Higgins, M.D. 1996. Crystal size distributions and other quantitative textural measurements in lavas and tuff from Egmont volcano (Mt. Taranaki), New Zealand. Bulletin of Volcanology, 58, 194-204.
  • Learner, G.A., Cronin, S.J., Turner, G.M., & Rowe, M.C. 2019. Paleomagnetic determination of the age and properties of the 1780–1800 AD dome effusion/collapse episode of Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand. Bulletin of Volcanology, 81:15. Link to article here
  • McDonald, G.W.Cronin, S.J., Kim, J-H., Smith, N.J., Murray, C.A., & Procter, J.N. 2017. Computable general equilibrium modelling of economic impacts from volcanic event scenarios at regional and national scale, Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand. Bulletin of Volcanology, 79:87. Link to article here
  • Platz, T., Cronin, S.J., Cashman, K.V., Stewart, R.B., & Smith, I.E.M. 2007. Transition from effusive to explosive phases in andesite eruptions — A case-study from the AD1655 eruption of Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand, Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 161, 15-34.
  • Platz, T., Cronin, S.J.Procter, J.N., Neall, V.E., & Foley, S.F. 2012. Non-explosive, dome-forming eruptions at Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand. Geomorphology, 136, 15-30. Link to article here
  • Price, R.C., Stewart, R.B., Woodhead, J.D., & Smith, I.E.M. 1999. Petrogenesis of High-K Arc Magmas: Evidence from Egmont Volcano, North Island, New Zealand, Journal of Petrology, 40(1), 167-197.
  • Price, R.C., Smith, I.E.M., Stewart, R.B., Gamble, J.A., Gruender, K., & Maas, R. 2016. High-K andesite petrogenesis and crustal evolution: Evidence from mafic and ultramafic xenoliths, Egmont Volcano (Mt. Taranaki) and comparisons with Ruapehu Volcano, North Island, New Zealand. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 185, 328-357. Link to article here
  • Shane, P., & Hoverd, J. 2002. Distal record of multi-sourced tephra in Onepoto Basin, Auckland, New Zealand: implications for volcanic chronology, frequency and hazards. Bulletin of Volcanology, 64, 441-454. Link to article here
  • Shane, P. 2005. Towards a comprehensive distal andesitic tephrostratigraphic framework for New Zealand based on eruptions from Egmont volcano. Journal of Quaternary Science, 20(1), 45-57. Link to article here
  • Stagpoole, V. 1999. The Awhitu volcanic complex, an offshore Pliocene volcano in the northern Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 42(1), 327-334. Link to article here
  • Stewart, R.B., Price, R.C., & Smith, I.E.M. 1996. Evolution of high-K arc magma, Egmont volcano, Taranaki, New Zealand: evidence from mineral chemistry. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research, 74, 275-295.
  • Taylor, C.B., & Evans, C.M. 1999. Isotopic indicators for groundwater hydrology in Taranaki, New Zealand. Journal of Hydrology, 38(2), 237-270.
  • Torres-Orozco, R., Cronin, S.J., Pardo, N., & Palmer, A.S. 2018. Volcanic hazard scenarios for multiphase andesitic Plinian eruptions from lithostratigraphy: Insights into pyroclastic density current diversity at Mount Taranaki, New Zealand. GSA Bulletin, 130(9-10),1645-1663. Link to article here
  • Torres-Orozco, R., Cronin, S.J., Pardo, N., & Palmer, A.S. 2017. New insights into Holocene eruption episodes from proximal deposit sequences at Mt. Taranaki (Egmont), New Zealand. Bulletin of Volcanology, 79:3. Link to article here
  • Torres-Orozco, R., Cronin, S.J., Damaschke, M., & Pardo, N. 2017. Diverse dynamics of Holocene mafic-intermediate Plinian eruptions at Mt. Taranaki (Egmont), New Zealand. Bulletin of Volcanology, 79: 76. Link to article here
  • Turner, M.B., Cronin, S.J.Bebbington, M.S.Smith, I.E.M., & Stewart, R.B. 2011. Integrating records of explosive and effusive activity from proximal and distal sequences: Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand. Quaternary International, 246, 364-373. Link to article here
  • Turner, M.B., Cronin, S.J.Bebbington, M.S.Smith, I.E.M., & Stewart, R.B. 2011. Relating magma composition to eruption variability at andesitic volcanoes: A case study from Mount Taranaki, New Zealand. GSA Bulletin, 123(9/10), 2005-2015. Link to article here