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Science Deadline: Auckland’s unpredictable volcanoes

Press Release – Science Media Centre

Unpredictable volcanic past Auckland’s volcanic past has been punctuated by periods of heightened activity and thousands of years of silence, according to two new research papers. Researchers from the DEVORA (Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland) research …Science Deadline: Auckland’s unpredictable volcanoes, quad bikes safety
Unpredictable volcanic past
Auckland’s volcanic past has been punctuated by periods of heightened activity and thousands of years of silence, according to two new research papers.
Researchers from the DEVORA (Determining Volcanic Risk in Auckland) research programme used argon-argon age dating to gather more precise timings of eruptions in the Auckland Volcanic Field. The oldest eruption (Pupuke) dates back to approximately 200,000 years ago, with youngster Rangitoto erupting a mere 500 years ago.
The two studies have been published in the Bulletin of Volcanology and the Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research.
At least half of the eruptions occurred in the last 60,000 years, which GNS Science senior scientist Dr Graham Leonard said was “geologically speaking, a short period of time”.
“On the other hand, the volcanic field has also gone quiet for up to 10,000 years in the last 60,000 years, which is quite a long gap. This new research is exciting because it has allowed us to further define when eruptions have occurred which has helped us flesh out an eruption timeline.”
Dr Leonard told Radio NZ that while scientists had been chipping away at the dates for the Auckland eruptions, but before these new studies only knew the ages of about 12 of the 53 volcanoes in the Auckland Volcanic Field.
“It’s been active for at least 200,000 years, with at least half of them, probably more, in the last 60,000 years, that means the rate increased about 60,000 years ago. Which means it’s probably a relatively young volcanic field and it’s definitely still active.”

Quoted: Radio NZ

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Co-operate on quad safety
Researchers in New Zealand and Australia examining the number of quad bike fatalities in both countries say there should be a combined approach to tackling safety issues.

The study, published this week in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Public Health, examined the coronial files from 101 quad-related fatalities: 69 in Australia and 32 in New Zealand. They found the fatality rates were similar between countries, and most involved males, occurred on farms and about half were work-related.

University of Otago’s Dr Rebbecca Liley told Newstalk ZB the results supported a “harmonised approach” between the two countries, where prevention efforts were co-ordinated and could join forces to advocate engineering improvements from the vehicles’ offshore manufacturers.

Most of the injuries involved a ‘rollover’, but while a 2014 report recommended roll bars, no new safety measures have been enforced.

Policy news & developments

Contaminated mines remediated: The top two most contaminated sites in the country have been remediated, the Prohibition and Alexander mines on the West Coast.

Great walk construction to start: Construction is set to start at the end of the month for the new great walk in Paparoa National Park, on the West Coast, in memory of the 29 men who died in the 2010 Pike River Mine disaster.

Springs tribunal appointed: A special tribunal to consider the Waikoropupū Springs application for a Water Conservation order has been appointed.
Women in Science Wikipedia Workshop

Royal Society Te Apārangi and Victoria University of Wellington are hosting a Wikipedia edit-a-thon to add and improve articles on women in New Zealand science.

A Wikipedia workshop is an all-day event where people improve Wikipedia’s coverage of a particular topic. Led by an experienced Wikipedia editor, participants learn to create and edit pages, correct mistakes, add references, and upload photos.

Complete beginners are welcome; training and troubleshooting is provided.

Details: 10am-4pm Sunday 6 August, Royal Society Te Apārangi, 11 Turnbull St, Thorndon, Wellington. Learn more on how to prepare and register.
Appendicitis cancer link
Getting appendicitis when you’re over 45 could be the first sign of underlying colorectal cancer, according to a study published today in the New Zealand Medical Journal.

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