Everyone who self-evacuated after the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake did the right thing. The earthquake triggered a tsunami and if it hadn’t been for the substantial coastal uplift in many places, and the low tide at the time, it could have been much more damaging.
Currently the only report of the tsunami impacting property was at Little Pigeon Bay on Banks Peninsula where a house was badly damaged. However, there are numerous reports of the sea leaving seaweed, shellfish and fish stranded above high tide level. There are also observations of the sea level falling below low tide, rising and falling quickly, and strange surges and currents.
If you, or someone you know, noticed unusual behaviour of the sea following the Kaikoura earthquake, or saw items damaged, or left high and dry by the sea, we would love to hear from you. You can complete our online observations form at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/Kaikouratsunami.
There is still a lot to untangle about what happened in the Kaikoura earthquake – ten faults that ruptured and still counting! The tsunami is an important part of the whole picture. GNS Science are collecting observations of the tsunami to help understand what happened in this event and what might happen in future events.
Tsunami observations collected will be used in the New Zealand Tsunami Database entry relating to this event and may be used to direct further fieldwork to investigate tsunami impacts. People’s observations are also really important for us to improve our knowledge of tsunami impacts and to calibrate our tsunami models.
GNS Science contacts: William Power, Ursula Cochran, Kate Clark, and Maureen Coomer