New Zealand earthquake damage map: Images reveal massive destruction

By David Jacobson, Temblor

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Map showing the faults in the northeastern portion of New Zealand’s South Island. Those in blue are the ones where surface rupture has been confirmed. The yellow star marks the epicenter of the M=7.8 14 November 2016 earthquake. The numbers in the figure above correspond to the locations of the images below.

The 14 November 2016 M=7.8 New Zealand earthquake caused significant damage, and left many people isolated. The earthquake ruptured at least 6 faults, over a 120 km long stretch on New Zealand’s South Island. Immediately following the quake, we posted a blog about the science behind it. Now, we wanted to highlight the significant effects the earthquake has had on the resilient people of New Zealand. Initial reports suggest that over 100,000 landslides were caused by the earthquake. While a lot of these took place inland and had little effect on people, many have blocked State Highway 1, which snakes its way up the east coast of the South Island. These landslides isolated the town Kaikoura, forcing people to be evacuated by air and sea. In addition to landslides, fault rupture and surface cracks caused extreme damage throughout the country.

Many large landslides have blocked State Highway 1. This one is just south of Kaikoura. (Image courtesy of Environment Canterbury)


Another landslide blocking State Highway 1. This landslide is north of Kaikoura near the town of Clarence. Because the highway was blocked both north and south of Kaikoura, people had to be evacuated by air and sea. (Image courtesy of Environment Canterbury)


Large surface cracks have wreaked havoc on many homes in Kaikoura. (Photo by Iain McGregor)


Large landslides in the hills above Kaikoura have left a broken landscape. (Photo by Ross Giblin)


Bluff Station north of Kaikoura was completely destroyed in the earthquake. It sat directly on the Kekerengu Fault, where 10 m of displacement was observed. (Getty Images)


Radio NZ
Environment Canterbury
GNS Science


14 November 2016 Mw=7.8 New Zealand earthquake shows an uncanny resemblance to the 2015 Nepal shock