A mathematical model for thelarge-scale transport of heatand water in the Taupo volcanic zone of New Zealand

Graham Weir


A three layer compartmental model of the geological structure in the Taupo Volcanic Zone of New Zealand is developed, based on the assumptions of isostasy (constant geostatic pressure at 25 kilometre depth) and a constant rate of volcanism. The upper layer consists of volcanic infill to a depth of about 2500 m, then a middle layer of greywacke-like material to a depth of about 15 km, and a lower layer of andesitic-like material to a depth of 25 km. Our model assumptions predict that the area of each layer increases at a constant rate; that there is a constant ratio between the rate of energy production from volcanic activity and geothermal convection; and that there is the possibility of an abrupt change from rhyolitic to basaltic volcanism, if the middle layer becomes suffciently thin. Two models are considered: a rifting and a spreading model. Both models predict the lower layer has an andesitic-like density. The spreading model has difficulty matching heat output with observed extension rates. The rifting model predicts the observed extension rates, but requires very deep circulation of groundwater to be consistent with observed chemical and isotopic properties of geothermal fluids



crustal heat and mass flow, geothermal energy, volcanology.

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.21914/anziamj.v50i0.2319

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ANZIAM Journal, ISSN 1446-8735, copyright Australian Mathematical Society.