Rafael Torres Orozco

Doctor of Philosophy
Study Completed: 2017
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Understanding the largest-scale explosive volcanism at Mt. Taranaki, New Zealand

Read article at Massey Research Online: MRO icon

Over the last 5000 years, Mount Taranaki has produced at least 53 explosive eruptions represented by well-preserved proximal geological records. From these, 16 eruptions were of Plinian scale. Hazards associated to Plinian eruptions have been recognised to be the most violent and destructive that stratovolcanoes like Taranaki can generate. Therefore, determining the upper limits, transitions and progression of Plinian events is fundamental to evaluate the potential hazards during future magmatic unrest. Mr Torres-Orozco mapped the deposits produced by these 53 eruptions at Taranaki, and determined the intensities, magnitudes, distributions, eruption styles, dynamics, magma chemical compositions and rheological constraints associated with the Plinian events. Using these data, he determined the upper eruptive limits and multi-phase eruptive progression, and envisaged three volcanic hazard scenarios that may be replicated during future magmatic unrest, of Plinian magnitude, at Taranaki, of major use for hazard managers.

Professor Shane Cronin
Associate Professor Ian Smith
Associate Professor Bob Stewart
Associate Professor Alan Palmer
Dr Natalia Pardo Villaveces

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