Shaken Not Stirred

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Kaikoura earthquake – notes from a field geologist

In this guest post University of Auckland Geologist Dr Julie Rowland reflects on the 14 November M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake. Let’s be clear – it was huge. When you see houses shunted sideways 10 m or lifted up by 8, you know you are dealing with a big one. The drone imagery and photographs that have been doing the media rounds paint an extraordinary...

Ruapehu continues to fidget

by Dr Benjamin Moorhouse Recent heightened volcanic activity from Ruapehu has resulted in GNS scientists raising both the Volcanic Alert Level (VAL) from level 1 to 2 and the Aviation Colour Code from green to yellow. But what does this mean? The NZ Volcanic Alert Level system ranges from level 0 to 5 with level 2 being defined as moderate to heightened...

The Alpine Fault: Is New Zealand Prepared?

The central section of the Alpine Fault (Source: wiki.gns.cri.nz)This post is the first of two articles which explore the potential impacts of the next great earthquake on the Alpine Fault and consider how prepared New Zealand is for that event.  This builds on a previous post which describes the physical properties of the Alpine Fault in more detail....

Typhoon Haiyan: how does it compare?

(note dates as of 8 Nov. 2013)  The Guardians’ Ami Sedghi has written a nice blog comparing Typhoon Haiyan, which has caused devastating damage and loss of life in the Philippines over recent days, to historical tropical storms;  Haiyan has been widely reported in the media as one of the largest tropical storms in history. Ami has also clarified the use...

Could Wellington be Next?

Recent Seismic Activity Beneath Cook Strait Over the past three days, earthquakes have been rattling central New Zealand, with the epicentres of many of the tremors between Seddon and Wellington. According to GNS, the largest earthquake had a magnitude of 6.5, and was located beneath Cook Strait at a depth of 17 km, some 55 km from Wellington, and...

Alpine Fault 101: Getting acquainted with New Zealand’s greatest natural hazard

Modeled Earthquake Shaking Intensities for New Zealand. Zone of maximum shaking along Alpine Fault indicated by red band.Source: http://blog.teara.govt.nzThe Alpine Fault will rupture in the near future (quite possibly in your lifetime), without any prior warning. When it does, the scale of the immediate disaster will be unprecedented in New Zealand,...

Cruel Irony in EQC Privacy Breach: information on 83,000 claimants leaked

As widely reported in the media yesterday, details of EQC claimants and claims have been leaked in a privacy breach that effects 83,000 Christchurch households. That’s details of every claim between $10-100k, arising from the 4 September 2010 and 22 February 2011 earthquakes. The leaked spreadsheet included details of EQC repair cost estimates and associated...

Climate change complicit in scorching heat, bushfires, flooding and tornadoes of disastrous Australian summer

From a natural disaster perspective, Australia is having a much worse year than New Zealand, despite our apparent penchant for earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, flooding, and the occasional crippling winter storm on this side of the ditch. To date, the Insurance Council of Australia has officially declared three natural disasters in 2013 (the Tasmanian...

Spectacular Footage of Yesterday’s Tongariro Eruption – Risk Remains High

Mount Tongariro Eruption. Source: TVNZA Geonet webcam at Mt. Tongariro has captured spectacular footage of yesterday’s eruption, which lasted approximately 5 minutes, ejecting an ash column and plume some 3-4 km above the Te Maari crater. There have not been any reports of injuries or damage, beyond a light dusting of ash falling near the volcano. The...

Mount Tongariro eruption – sleeping giant awakens

Seismic signature of Tongariro eruption. GeoNetLast night Mount Tongariro burst into life, erupting for the first time in over 100 years. The eruption raised the Geonet volcanic alert from level 1 to 2, with an accompanying aviation colour code of red. The Tongariro alert level had been upped to level 1 on 20th of July 2012, due to increased seismic...

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