Ancient palaeotsunami mapped all the way back to the prehistoric era

NIWA

An interactive map details records of tsunami along the coastline and islands.

Ancient tsunami have been mapped in a new interactive project.

The New Zealand Palaeotsunami Database was compiled from old records by the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research.

The free, searchable map, shows the range of tsunami recorded around the coastline and offshore islands since prehistoric times, including events in which waves inundated inland to an elevation of 30 or more metres.

MDC

Tsunami information signs like this one at Himatangi are an everyday reminder of the volatile land we live on.

A ‘palaeotsunami’ is defined as one occurring before written records and dated using geological and anthropological evidence.

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Project leader and Niwa scientist Darren King said the aim of the database was to increase awareness of New Zealand’s tsunami hazard and help in the analysis of palaeotsunami.

There was strong evidence New Zealand’s largest tsunami occurred between 1450 and 1480 at Henderson Bay in Northland, where deposits reached 32 metres above sea level and inundated inland for 1000m.

Three tsunami hit the Mataora-Wairau lagoon in Marlborough in the last 2000 years.

Elevation is not the same as wave height….

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