Improved New Zealand tsunami monitoring system in place

The likely impact of tsunami on New Zealand’s coastline is now better understood following the completion of a major project to install sea level monitoring devices.

Sea level gauges have been installed at 17 sites around New Zealand and offshore islands. Pressure sensors at the gauges measure any significant change in the sea level, with data being transmitted in real time to GNS Science’s GeoNet data management centre.

GNS Science assesses the data and advises the Ministry of Civil Defence and Emergency Management (MCDEM) about the level of threat posed by tsunami. MCDEM is responsible for managing the response to any threat, which may include issuing public warnings.

The tsunami network project, led by Land Information New Zealand (LINZ), now forms an important component of a wider tsunami monitoring system for New Zealand and across the Pacific.

Graeme Blick, Chief Geodesist at LINZ, said the project was initiated following the devastating Boxing Day 2004 tsunami in the Indian Ocean, caused by a 9.3 magnitude earthquake off the coast of Sumatra. Waves up to 1 metre in height were recorded at sites around New Zealand 18 to 25 hours after the earthquake occurred, highlighting New Zealand’s vulnerability to tsunami.

Mr Blick said the installation took five years to complete, and was made more challenging by the rough and rugged environment in which the sea level gauges were installed, and the long process of obtaining approvals and consents. The last sensor was installed in July 2010.

Agencies involved included GNS Science, MCDEM, NIWA, MORST, Waikato University and consultancy firm URS, as well as Australian agencies involved in the development of a similar network there.

“The fact the network was completed on time and within budget is testament to the cooperative effort that went in to the project,” Mr Blick said.

GNS Science worked closely with LINZ, providing technical expertise throughout the installation phase. Dr Ken Gledhill, Geohazards Monitoring Manager for GNS Science, said the project was a great example of collaboration across the public and private sectors.

Over the past 150 years, New Zealand has experienced about 10 tsunami higher than 5 metres, which can put people and property at risk. Large earthquakes can have devastating effects, both on land and water, Dr Gledhill said, as the people of Christchurch can testify.

“Since installation of the network began in 2005, several large regional and distant earthquakes have generated tsunami,” he said. “The network has successfully detected these, including the 2009 Samoan and 2010 Chilean earthquakes and the resulting waves that hit our coastline.” (Source : GNS Science)

Picture “Sourced from LINZ. Crown Copyright reserved.”

Huge Tsunami preparedness exercise in New Zealand today

tsunami sign

Image by bookish in north park via Flickr

On the exception of Canterbury, because of the recent traumatic earthquake,  New Zealand’s will test it’s ability to respond to a massive tsunami on Wednesday.

More than 100 agencies nationwide will take part in the exercise.
New Zealand will test the new updated national tsunami advisory and warning plan.

The revised plan makes use of new scientific modeling from GNS Science that allows for distinct threat warnings to be issued for 43 coastal zones.

“It is a good example of how science can help response to an emergency,” he added.

Exercise Tangaroa, named for the god of the sea, rivers, lakes and all life within them, will begin with a simulated Pacific Tsunami Warning Center alert that a major tsunami may have been created by an earthquake off the coast of South America.

National warnings, clearly labeled as simulation messages, will be issued by the Ministry of Civil Defense and Emergency Management to the National Crisis Management Center and agencies throughout the country.

Participants include all 16 regional civil defense emergency management groups, most local authorities, central government departments, emergency services, scientific agencies, welfare organizations, utilities, the transport sector and some media.

Read more here

Earthquakes list October 19, 2010

M 4.7      2010/10/20 04:30    Depth 10.0 km     GULF OF CALIFORNIA
October 19, 2010 at 10:30:38 PM at epicenter

M 5.5      2010/10/20 04:15    Depth 10.0 km     GULF OF CALIFORNIA
October 19, 2010 at 10:15:37 PM at epicenter

M 5.7      2010/10/20 04:09    Depth 14.4 km     GULF OF CALIFORNIA
October 19, 2010 at 10:09:44 PM at epicenter
Powerful shallow seaquake on the fault line in the middle of the Gulf of California. The earthquake must have been felt in a wide area but only light to moderate shaking is expected by the experts.

M 4.7      2010/10/20 03:39    Depth 8.1 km     GULF OF CALIFORNIA
October 19, 2010 at 09:39 PM (21:39) at epicenter
Seaquake right in the middle of the Gulf of California on the fault line and 105 km (65 miles) SW of Guamuchil, Sinaloa, Mexico

M 4.8      2010/10/20 01:05    Depth 38.2 km     NEAR THE COAST OF ECUADOR
October 19, 2010 at 08:05 PM (20:05) at epicenter
Epicenter 55 km (35 miles) N of Manta, Ecuador

M 4.7      2010/10/19 23:04    Depth 42.7 km     SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
October 20, 2010 at 06:04:06 AM at epicenter
Epicenter between Enggano island and Sumatra mainland

M 5.1      2010/10/19 21:16    Depth 44.5 km     TONGA
October 20, 2010 at 10:16:24 AM at epicenter
Aftershock on nearly the same location than the M 5.5 earthquake from earlier today.

M 5.0      2010/10/19 20:49    Depth 41.8 km     SUNDA STRAIT, INDONESIA
October 20, 2010 at 03:49 AM at epicenter
Epicenter right in the middle of the Sunda Strait, the sea street in between Sumatra and Java.

M 5.5      2010/10/19 20:39    Depth 21.1 km     TONGA
October 20, 2010 at 09:39 AM at epicenter
Powerful earthquake on the same location than earlier today, right on the steep slope of the subduction area. NO tsunami bulletins have been published

M 4.8      2010/10/19 18:48    Depth 23.9 km     NEAR THE SOUTH COAST OF PAPUA, INDONESIA
October 20, 2010 at 03:48 AM at epicenter
Epicenter 120 km (75 miles) NW of Dobo, Kepulauan Aru, Irian Jaya Indonesia

4.3      2010/10/19 14:32     Depth 1 km     CENTRAL TURKEY
local time 17:32 2010-10-19
Epicenter 33 km N Kulu (pop 47,037)

5.0      2010/10/19 10:58    Depth 10.0 km      TONGA
11:58 PM (23:58) at epicenter
Epicenter on the subduction slope about 100 km from Pangai

5.0      2010/10/19 10:06    Depth 39.8 km      KAMCHATKA PENINSULA, RUSSIA
11:06 PM (23:06) at epicenter
Epicenter near the (beautiful) Kamchatka volcanoes

5.0      2010/10/19 08:06    Depth 10.0 km      PACIFIC-ANTARCTIC RIDGE
09:06 PM (21:06) at epicenter
In the middle of a stress area in the Ocean

M 5.0      2010/10/19 11:32 AM (local time)    Depth 9.0 km     SOUTH ISLAND, NEW ZEALAND
Moderate earthquake scaring local people in the aftermath of the main earthquake of weeks ago. Reports of new light damage in already damaged houses and buildings. Epicenter 10 km South West of Christchurch

M 4.0      2010/10/19 03:56    Depth 22.0 km     DOMINICAN REPUBLIC REGION
October 18, 2010 at 11:56 PM at epicenter
Weak shallow seaquake which will though be felt in the major vacation spots like Punta Cana, Bavaro and La Romana. 205 km from Santo Domingo

M 5.0      2010/10/19 00:24    Depth 10.6 km     SOUTHEAST OF EASTER ISLAND
October 18, 2010 at 06:24:05 PM at epicenter
Far away from a populated place.

Earthquakes occurred on October 18 UTC, but on October 19 local time

M 4.7      2010/10/18 23:13    Depth 62.4 km     SOUTHERN SUMATRA, INDONESIA
October 19, 2010 at 06:13 AM at epicenter
Just out the coast of Sumatra. Combination of depth and magnitude result in a harmless very light shaking. Nearest villages and town  : Ketahun, Lais and Bengkulu.

M 4.7      2010/10/18 22:32    Depth 9.0 km     SOUTH ISLAND OF NEW ZEALAND
October 19, 2010 at 11:32 AM at epicenter
Aftershock in the greater Christchurch area. The area has been struck by hunderds of aftershocks since the major shock a couple of months ago. The magnitude is mounting up to +M5

seismograph - recordingUseful information to read this daily earthquake list
This earthquake list covers minor and major earthquakes in the world.
If a more detailed page is present, the earthquake line will be linked to the detailed page.
For your comfort, we will provide in most cases Google Satellite Map links to give you an idea where the earthquake struck, which terrain it happened and if villages or cities are located in the immediate vicinity. The reference for the time zone is UTC (Coordinated Universal Time, also called GMT)
The page is regularly updated to add new earthquakes.
green color = NOT dangerous for damage or injuries
orange color = MODERATE risk for damage or injuries
red color = CONSIDERABLE risk for damage or injuries

QuakeSOS has been developed to help actively people who are caught in an earthquake + delivers "Earthquake Report" information on your iPhoneQuakeSOS is a FREE iPhone application developed by Armand Vervaeck, the creator and main contributor to Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is constantly feeding the users with “Earthquake Report” news. Together with your own family and friends, QuakeSOS will be your closest earthquake friend.

Powerful aftershock shakes the Christchurch area again

Lyttelton port in 2004.

The port of Lyttelton - Image via Wikipedia

Earthquake Report comment :
A powerful aftershock occurred at 11:32 am of Tuesday October 19.
The epicenter was located only 1 km from Lansdowne,  5 km south of Halswell and 10 km west of Lyttelton
The hypocenter was at a very shallow depth of 9 km.
This aftershock proves once more that the greater Christchurch area is till at risk for major aftershocks. Until now only 5+ magnitudes have been reached, but Magnitudes of +6 are certainly still possible. Such aftershocks can be very damaging at shallow depths.
Local media report that products tumbled from shelves and that many buildings have been evacuated after the shock.
Other reports mention bricks falling in the city.
The Lyttelton tunnel was closed after the quake but had since reopened. The port was operating as usual.
The quake scared people a lot, but fortunately no major damage or injuries were reported.
A specific phenomena of this aftershock was once again “liquefaction’ in some areas.
Read the full report of this aftershock in the local edition of  “the press” Christchurch

Most important Earthquake Data:
Magnitude : M 5.0
Tuesday, October 19 2010 at 11:32 am (local time)
Depth (Hypocenter) : 9 km
Geo-location(s) :
10 km west of Lyttelton
10 km south-west of Christchurch

Links to important maps
GNS Science Did You Feel It Map
Google satellite map of the area showing the kind of terrain the earthquake took place
GNS Science  Shaking map
USGS historic earthquakes map
Live Seismograph

QuakeSOS has been developed to help actively people who are caught in an earthquake + delivers "Earthquake Report" information on your iPhoneQuakeSOS is a FREE iPhone application developed by Armand Vervaeck, the creator and main contributor to Earthquake Report. The Application simplifies immediate group communication to friends and family members (with your exact GPS location) and is constantly feeding the users with “Earthquake Report” news. Together with your own family and friends, QuakeSOS will be your closest earthquake friend.

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