Tsunami Network Grows

GNS Science has added a new station to New Zealand’s Tsunami Monitoring Network.

The station, located at Tauranga, brings the network to five stations, with monitoring equipment also located at Gisborne, Napier, Wellington and Chatham Island.

The tsunami gauges record fluctuations in the tide levels at selected sites, with the traces clearly showing the variation in high and low tide times between the various centres. The addition of the Tauranga gauge brings the network another step closer to its final target of 20 stations, with the network expected to be completed during 2010.

The tsunami gauges are being installed at three types of locations – off-shore islands, population centres identified as at risk, and coastal sites thought to be at risk according to evidence of past tsunami events. The Chatham Island station is the first of five stations to be deployed at offshore islands. Stations are also planned for Norfolk, Raoul, Macquarie and Antipodes islands, with the stations at Norfolk Island and Macquarie Island to be installed by Australia.

Tauranga, Gisborne, Napier and Wellington are the first of seven stations to be installed at population centres at risk of tsunami. Stations are planned for Auckland, Christchurch and Dunedin.

Evidence of past tsunami events indicates that the northern, eastern and southern coasts of New Zealand are more at risk from tsunami events, when compared with studies of the west coast. The location of eight coastal monitoring stations reflects this with sites planned for North Cape, Hokianga, Great Barrier Island, East Cape, Mahia, Castlepoint, Kaikoura and Puysegur Point.

A plot of the sea levels recorded by the five commissioned stations during the past 36 hours can be found here.

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