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Scenario-based Modelling of Waves Generated by Sublacustrine Explosive Eruptions at Lake Taupō, New Zealand
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  • Matthew Hayward,
  • Emily Lane,
  • Colin Whittaker,
  • Graham Leonard,
  • William Power
Matthew Hayward
The University of Auckland, The University of Auckland, The University of Auckland

Corresponding Author:[email protected]

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Emily Lane
NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi, NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi, NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi
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Colin Whittaker
the University of Auckland, the University of Auckland, the University of Auckland
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Graham Leonard
GNS Science, GNS Science, GNS Science
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William Power
GNS Science, GNS Science, GNS Science
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Volcanogenic tsunami and wave hazard remains less understood than that of other tsunami sources. Volcanoes can generate waves in a multitude of ways, including subaqueous explosions. Recent events, including a highly explosive eruption at Hunga Tonga-Hunga Ha’apai and subsequent tsunami in January 2022, have reinforced the necessity to explore and quantify volcanic tsunami sources. We utilise a non-hydrostatic multilayer numerical method to simulate 20 scenarios of sublacustrine explosive eruptions under Lake Taupō, New Zealand, across five locations and four eruption sizes. Waves propagate around the entire lake within 15 minutes, and there is a minimum explosive size required to generate significant waves (positive amplitudes incident on foreshore of >1 m) from the impulsive displacement of water from the eruption itself. This corresponds to a mass eruption rate of 5.8x10^7 kg s^-1, or VEI 5 equivalent. Inundation is mapped across five built areas and becomes significant near shore when considering only the two largest sizes, above VEI 5, which preferentially impact areas of low-gradient run-up. In addition, novel hydrographic output is produced showing the impact of incident waves on the Waikato river inlet draining the lake, and is potentially useful for future structural impact analysis. Waves generated from these explosive source types are highly dispersive, resulting in hazard rapidly diminishing with distance from the source. With improved computational efficiency, a probabilistic study could be formulated and other, potentially more significant, volcanic source mechanisms should be investigated.