The M7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake of 14 November, 2016 (NZDT) was a complex and remarkable event for the large number of ground-surface fault ruptures and landslides triggered throughout a large area of New Zealand's South Island. The catastrophic event left New Zealand not only with 2 human casualties, home collapses, roads and railways destroyed and tourist resorts evaquated but also with an altered topography. The earth 'unzipped' within an approximate southwest to northeast extent of 180 km length of surface rupture along at least 12 faults featuring up to 10-12 m dextral and 2m vertical displacement, 80 km uplifted coastline up to 5m height, and tens of thousands of landslides some of them monitored as potential threats for catastrophic flooding due to river damming.
A significant leap in earthquake disaster reconnaissance and study was made possible thanks to the immediate coordinated efforts of scientists and technicians from around the world. UHD camera enabled drones and 3D mapping processing enabled the team to capture the devastated earth's surface in great detail rarely accomplished in the past few years. High resolution Digital Surface Models and orthophotos of the affected areas will serve geologists and earthquake engineers as 2D/3D basemaps for answering questions related to topography interaction with the fault rupture, as earthquake geologist Russ Van Dissen from GNS science suggests in a NZ Geographic article, or as comparison spatial features for larger scale projects such as University's of Michigan NSF funded study led by Prof. Marin Clark and Prof. Dimitrios Zekkos of generating pre and post-earthquake high-resolution digital topographic maps from 30cm satellite stereoscopic pairs for the whole affected area.
One thing is for sure, with all this highly accurate and detailed spatial data gradually becoming available, the Kaikoura Earthquake will be likely one of the most documented and measured natural event than any other in our recent history.
Enjoy watching two photo and drone footage compilations featuring our reconnaissance efforts!