January 2016 landslides

Landslides reported from media sources during January 2016.

Monday 18 January

  • Heavy rain remobilised debris that had been deposited in the streams draining the Te Maari crater area on Tongariro, causing two debris flows (or secondary lahars) to flow down both sides of the volcano. Substantial damage was done to the Tongariro Alpine Crossing track between Mangatepopo and Soda Springs, and on the Ketatahi Springs side. Between Mangatepopo and Soda Springs the damage was caused by water and rock movement washing out part of the track. On the Ketetahi side of the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, it was likely the ponded water broke through a debris dam that formed during the night and washed large boulders and logs down the path created by the 2012 Te Maari lahar. Read more about this event at Lahar come lately: the volcanic hazard that keeps on giving.

Tuesday 19 January

  • A landslide near the summit of SH 25a in Coromandel blocked one lane of the road.

Thursday 21 to Monday 25 January

  • Up to 533mm of rain fell over 4 days at Jackson Bay on the West Coast, triggering several landslides above the coast road, forcing the road to close. Residents were isolated for about two weeks. They had to use boats and helicopters to get access to their houses from Haast.

Thursday 28 January

  • The remnants of ex-Cyclone Victor hit the Gisborne-East Coast causing torrential rain, with more than 25mm of rain an hour falling in some places. The area north of Gisborne bore the brunt of the ex-cyclone, with torrential rain from the top of East Cape to Tolaga Bay. Gisborne District Council rainfall gauges showed the heaviest morning downpours were at Te Puia, where 30mm fell between 3am and 4am, and at Mt. Arowhana which had 56mm in the two hours between 3am and 5am. Ruatoria also had rain up to 20mm an hour. Gisborne recieved 22mm in just one hour between 5am and 6am. The biggest rainfall totals to 6am were recorded at Ruatoria (74mm) and Te Puia (92mm) townships, with the Hikawai River catchment receiving 89mm. Several roads in the region were affected by landslides and rockfalls. Large boulders were deposited onto the road at the top of the Wharerata ranges reducing the road to one lane. Other roads affected were:

    • A slump on Mangatu Road reduced the road to a single lane;
    • A dropout on Motu Road, approximately 3 km from Motu village, reduced the road to a single lane;
    • Several slips and washouts were reported on Waimata Valley Road.


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