Effects of Inundation by the 14th November, 2016 Kaikōura Tsunami on Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand


At 12:02:56 a.m. Monday, November 14 2016 NZDT (11:02:56 a.m., November 13 2016 UTC) a magnitude 7.8 earthquake struck near Kaikōura on the north-eastern coast of the South Island of New Zealand. This earthquake caused a tsunami along New Zealand’s east coast that was recorded on a number of sea level gauges. Outside of the Kaikōura region, north facing bays along Banks Peninsula were most affected by the tsunami. Of these, Little Pigeon Bay experienced extensive inundation and an unoccupied cottage was destroyed by the wave run-up. We report on the inundation extent and (inferred) flow directions at Little Pigeon Bay, including a study on temporal changes in the field evidence of this inundation. Preliminary modelling results indicate that the waves may have excited resonance in the bay. We also present results from inundation surveys of nearby, north-facing bays on Banks Peninsula. The excitation of resonance in Little Pigeon Bay provides an explanation for the more severe inundation and damage there in comparison to these nearby bays.

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    While the Kaikōura gauge was co-seismically uplifted about a metre by the tsunami, none of the other sea level gauges were moved (Power et al., submitted, this issue).


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We would like to thank all the landowners who allowed us access to their land and shared their knowledge of the area: Edward and Penny Aitkens, owners of Little Pigeon Bay; Stuart Stanley, the owner of Double Bay; David Miller, the owner of Decanter Bay and Harold Menzies, the owner of Menzies Bay. Thanks also to Evan Parry for his observations and local knowledge. Thanks to Julian Sykes and Alison Kohout (NIWA) for collecting the Little Pigeon Bay bathymetry and to Dougal Greer (eCoast) for assistance with the wavelet spectrogram plots. This research was supported by NIWA Taihoro Nukurangi, Natural Hazards Research Platform and GNS Science as part of government core funding. Further thanks to David Huntley, Geological Survey of Canada and an anonymous reviewer who critically reviewed this manuscript.

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Correspondence to Emily M. Lane.

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Lane, E.M., Borrero, J., Whittaker, C.N. et al. Effects of Inundation by the 14th November, 2016 Kaikōura Tsunami on Banks Peninsula, Canterbury, New Zealand. Pure Appl. Geophys. 174, 1855–1874 (2017). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00024-017-1534-x

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  • Tsunami
  • inundation
  • Kaikōura Earthquake
  • Kaikōura tsunami
  • Kaikōura
  • Kaikoura
  • New Zealand
  • Little Pigeon Bay
  • 14 November 2016 Earthquake
  • Banks Peninsula