Kaikoura tsunami risks unveiled

03:27, Mar 19 2014
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Parts of Kaikoura could end up under water if a large South American earthquake set off a tsunami.

Environment Canterbury (ECan) commissioner Donald Couch said if a tsunami was triggered in the Kaikoura canyon, there would be "only minutes to get to higher ground".

He said Kaikoura residents should move to higher ground immediately if they felt an earthquake so strong they couldn't stand up, or one that went on for more than a minute.

"Do the same if you see the sea suddenly going out or rushing in." 

Ecan today released two reports on the tsunami risks Kaikoura faced.

Modelling based on the 1868 Aria (South America) tsunami shows that a South American-generated tsunami would flood parts of Kaka and Weka Streets in South Bay, and Fyffe and Wakatu Quays in Kaikoura. 


The second wave would be the largest, travelling at around a metre a second, the report says.

The report also outlines the potential for large landslides to occur in shallow water south of Kaikoura Peninsula.

NIWA marine geologist Dr Joshu Mountjoy said several shallow-water sediment bodies at the edge of the Kaikoura canyon posed a ''potentially hazardous scenario''.

"It's very important to understand how big these tsunamis could be, and to determine where and when they might occur.''

Click here to read the tsunami reports

The Press