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The Life and Times of Supervolcanoes

29 August 2018

There is no denying that as New Zealand sits astride the Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic plates our land is subject to tremendous natural forces. We may commonly experience this as a gentle but sometimes a severe shuddering of earthquakes. Yet with Aotearoa dotted with cones and calderas, Kiwis should also keep in mind that the Taupō Eruption was actually the world’s most violent volcanic eruption in the last 5,000 years!

Colin Wilson has gathered many accolades for studying volcanoes, and in particular, those giant examples known as super volcanoes. He likens his work to that of a crime scene investigator, where he travels the world piecing together the dual puzzle of why such cataclysmic explosions occur and why they are joined by much smaller eruptions. He aims to forecast volcanic phenomena with enough warning so that communities can respond. But although Colin is digging deep in the Earth’s crust to find the triggering mechanisms, volcanic systems are not letting their secrets go easily…

Royal Society Te Apārangi is proud to partner with GNS Science, EQC and Victoria University of Wellington in presenting the 2018 New Zealand Rutherford Lecture. Strong support from these organisations comes from the belief that New Zealanders will greatly benefit both from learning about and gaining a better awareness of this ‘sleeping’ giant in our midst.

Venue: War Memorial Theatre, 159 Bright Street

Time: 6pm - 7pm

Cost: Free event, click here to register

Professor Colin Wilson FRS FRSNZ, Victoria University of Wellington

In 2017, geologist Professor Colin Wilson was awarded Royal Society Te Apārangi’s highest honour, the Rutherford Medal, for his research into understanding large, explosive super volcanoes and the dangers they pose. Yet although significant eruptions are still rare, threats from volcanic activity are considered a very serious natural hazard for Aotearoa New Zealand.

The 2018 New Zealand Rutherford Lecture is proudly presented by Royal Society Te Apārangi in partnership with GNS Science, EQC and Victoria University of Wellington.

Views that are expressed at this event may not reflect those of Royal Society Te Apārangi.