Living in the Shadow of a Volcano
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree LevelPostgraduate Certificate
Degree NamePostgraduate Certificate in Antarctic Studies
Mt Erebus is the only active volcano on Ross Island. Though it is currently passively degassing, englacial tephrostratigraphy proves that there have been large eruptions in the past, with enough energy to throw out 4m sized blocks and have ash travel ~200 km away from the source. The potential for a future large eruption poses a threat to the two stations located at the tip of Hut Point Peninsula (McMurdo Station and Scott Base), and the surrounding environment. A Strombolian eruption style, the most common style at Mt Erebus, produces hazards such as tephra fall, ballistics, and lahars. Using modelling software (ArcGIS and Tephra2) these hazards were mapped and have been shown to pose little direct threat to Scott Base due to its location on the Peninsula and distance away from the volcano. In a strong eruption scenario with high winds, the simulated tephra fall showed it reaching Scott Base with a maximum thickness of 0.05-1 cm. Despite this negligible impact on Scott Base, tephra fall and other hazards can injure personnel on the volcano and have a significant effect on the natural environment by changing the albedo of the snow and releasing aerosols into the atmosphere.