Tuesday marked four months since the November 14 Kaikoura earthquake, which caused widespread damage and disruption along the east coast of the South Island and up into Wellington.
To mark the date, GeoNet took to Facebook Live to discuss what its scientists had learnt about the 7.8 magnitude earthquake. After battling with some audio issues on the day, the full video – including sign language interpretation – is now available with improved sound on YouTube.
Dr Kate Clark led the discussion, starting with the earliest surveys on the morning of the quake when scientists in the field said they thought there had been five faults ruptured. “I think we were all a bit bewildered, confused and also amazed…it was kind of our first clue that this was probably going to be quite a complicated and unusual earthquake.”
“And then going on four months, now we’ve documented 21 faults that have actually had surface rupturing in the Kaikoura earthquake. This is probably approaching or exceeding a world record for the number of faults that ruptured in a single earthquake.”
Dr Sally Dellow said about 200 landslide dams had also been created by slips blocking rivers, 11 of which had been identified as still posing risks.
The major landslide that came down near Ohau Points – a popular location on the Kaikoura coast where many people stop to view the local seal colony – could have had major implications had the quake struck at midday, she said.
“We dodged a bullet at this place because the earthquake occurred at midnight.”
Watch the full presentation on YouTube.
Information from the Facebook Live event was covered by several media outlets: