Before and after the Kaikoura quake: images show colossal damage

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A farm north of Kaikoura is unrecognisable.

Striking images from Kaikoura give a bleak view of how much damage was done by November's earthquake.

From landslides to ruined farms, sediment-clogged rivers to destroyed houses, the scale of the damage caused by the 7.8 earthquake was huge, and plainly obvious from above.

Comparisons to imagery taken last year show that parts of Kaikoura are unrecognisable and likely forever changed by the earthquake.

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Coastal uplift at Waipapa Bay.

The latest images were taken from planes by Land Information New Zealand (Linz) and the NZ Transport Agency (NZTA), and can be seen here.

They will serve as an official record of the disaster and would support work to rebuild the damaged roads.

Similar imagery was taken after 2011's Canterbury earthquake, which devastated Christchurch.

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Sediment spilling out to sea from the Clarence River, caused by landslides upstream. The river's channel has widened significantly.

It would be used by various agencies to help with the recovery, Land Information Minister Louise Upston said.

"It's incredibly hard to understand the true power of earthquakes until you see how easily they move huge geographic features, so images like these will help people more easily grapple with the disruption local communities are facing.

"Most importantly though, these images will help recovery agencies identify new hazards, rebuild roads and other vital infrastructure, and help everyone affected more quickly get back to normal."     

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The landslide at Ohau Point, which destroyed a seal colony.

While State Highway 1 will be fixed, at a cost nearing $2 billion, some of the damage is permanent.

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The coastal uplift in particular had fundamentally changed the coastline, and now authorities were looking at how it affected the sea floor.

Linz, the agency responsible for creating nautical charts and seabed maps, was now analysing the sea floor with lasers to see what needed to be changed.

"There may be new hazards and depths will have changed," hydrographer Adam Greenland said.

"This rapid survey we're doing will allow us to do an assessment across that whole stretch of coastline."

The Australian Defence Force had provided Linz with the technology at short notice to do the survey, which will give an immediate picture of the impact.

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The historic Elms Homestead, where Louis Edgar died.

Using LiDAR technology, it will create a 3D map showing water depth, which Linz will use to map any new hazards.

Any hazards likely to cause a threat for boat users would be published immediately, Greenland said.

Getting a full picture would take much longer.

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An impromptu road created to get around a landslide on State Highway One.

"That uplift, whilst it's manifestly obvious on land, will have occurred on the seabed as well. That can be seen on the foreshore, so we really want to see what's happening under the water."

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Slips above tunnels south of Kaikoura.

 - Stuff


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