A decade of earthquake activity at Taupō Volcano, New Zealand

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Finnigan Illsley-Kemp
Pasan Herath
Calum J. Chamberlain
Konstantinos Michailos
Colin J. N. Wilson


Taupō, New Zealand, is an active caldera volcano that in recent times has erupted on average every ~500 years, with the latest explosive eruption in 232±10 CE. Monitoring at Taupō is challenging as there has been no eruptive activity in documented history; however, Taupō does undergo periods of unrest on roughly a decadal timescale, such as in 2019. Key to identifying these unrest periods is understanding what represents 'normal' inter-unrest activity. In this study, we generate an earthquake catalogue for Taupō for 2010–2019 inclusive, consisting of 46,481 earthquakes. This shows that the Taupō region has background earthquake rates of 50–200 earthquakes per month and the 2019 unrest episode was preceded by an exponential increase in earthquake rate. We also show that when attenuation is accounted for there is no evidence for low-frequency earthquakes at Taupō, and that this is an important consideration for volcano monitoring and determining the presence of significant magma movement.


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How to Cite
Illsley-Kemp, F., Herath, P., Chamberlain, C. J., Michailos, K. and Wilson, C. J. N. (2022) “A decade of earthquake activity at Taupō Volcano, New Zealand”, Volcanica, 5(2), pp. 335–348. doi: 10.30909/vol.05.02.335348.