Studying past eruptions and monitoring active volcanoes.

There are 12 active volcanic areas in New Zealand. Although the probability of an eruption affecting a large area is relatively low in any one year, New Zealand needs to be prepared for a range of styles of volcanic eruptions.

The Volcanology team at GNS Science performs a variety of scientific analyses which provide the vital information needed for thorough planning to help minimise the impact of future volcanic eruptions.

We maintain permanent surveillance at active and potentially active volcanoes - this is the best way to detect the early signs of increasing seismic and volcanic activity.

Research & consultancy expertise

Understanding Volcanoes

  • Determining the nature, magnitude and frequency of past volcanic eruptions
Mt Ruapehu lahar


  • Permanent volcanic monitoring and surveillance of active and potentially active volcanoes
  • New Zealand’s volcanic alert bulletins
  • Designing systems for volcano surveillance, using techniques in seismology, geodesy, chemistry and remote sensing
  • Early warning of volcanic unrest, such as earthqua
    Mt Taranaki
    ke activity and gas release
  • Eruption monitoring to provide vital information on local and regional dangers and impacts.


  • Modelling the distribution of volcanic products
  • Numerical modelling of geophysical, geological and geochemical volcanic signals
  • Producing hazard maps indicating the
    Mt Ngauruhoe
    vulnerability of areas to lava flows, pyroclastic flows, and ash fall
  • Analysing the vulnerability of infrastructure - engineering "lifelines" such as roads, water supply and communication lines

Community resilience

  • Development of eruption scenarios for emergency management and risk assessment
  • Advising on strategies to mitigate damage

Go to our Learning Zone to learn more about volcanoes

More Info:

Visit the Volcanoes Learning Zone!

Volcano monitoring (Geonet)

New Zealand's Volcanoes