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Two regions of seafloor deformation generated the tsunami for the 13 November 2016, Kaikoura, New Zealand earthquake

Bai, Yefei and Lay, Thorne and Cheung, Kwok Fai and Ye, Lingling (2017) Two regions of seafloor deformation generated the tsunami for the 13 November 2016, Kaikoura, New Zealand earthquake. Geophysical Research Letters, 44 (13). pp. 6597-6606. ISSN 0094-8276.

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The 13 November 2016 Kaikoura, New Zealand, M_w 7.8 earthquake ruptured multiple crustal faults in the transpressional Marlborough and North Canterbury tectonic domains of northeastern South Island. The Hikurangi trench and underthrust Pacific slab terminate in the region south of Kaikoura, as the subdution zone transitions to the Alpine fault strike-slip regime. It is difficult to establish whether any coseismic slip occurred on the megathrust from on-land observations. The rupture generated a tsunami well recorded at tide gauges along the eastern coasts and in Chatham Islands, including a ~4 m crest-to-trough signal at Kaikoura where coastal uplift was about 1 m, and at multiple gauges in Wellington Harbor. Iterative modeling of teleseismic body waves and the regional water-level recordings establishes that two regions of seafloor motion produced the tsunami, including an M_w ~7.6 rupture on the megathrust below Kaikoura and comparable size transpressional crustal faulting extending offshore near Cook Strait.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Bai, Yefei0000-0003-3323-3348
Lay, Thorne0000-0003-2360-4213
Cheung, Kwok Fai0000-0002-7435-0500
Ye, Lingling0000-0002-8739-2072
Additional Information:© 2017 American Geophysical Union. Received 3 APR 2017; Accepted 5 JUN 2017; Accepted article online 12 JUN 2017; Published online 3 JUL 2017. The IRIS DMS data center ( was used to access the seismic data from Global Seismic Network and Federation of Digital Seismic Network stations. The New Zealand Regional Bathymetry and tide gauge data were downloaded from the National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research ( and Land Information New Zealand (, respectively. This data analysis made use of GMT, SAC, and Matlab software. We would like to thank Ian Hamling (GNS Science) for his initial local rupture models, Florian Monetti (MetOcean Solutions) for post-processed data from the three wave gauges in Wellington Harbor, and Mohammad Heidarzadeh (Brunel University) and an anonymous reviewer for their comments on this paper. NOAA provided support through grant NA15NWS4670025 to Kwok Fai Cheung and NSF through grant EAR1245717 to Thorne Lay. SOEST contribution 10016.
Group:Seismological Laboratory
Funding AgencyGrant Number
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) NA15NWS4670025
Subject Keywords:Earthquake; Tsunami; Hikurangi subduction zone
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20170817-140015785
Persistent URL:
Official Citation:Bai, Y., T. Lay, K. F. Cheung, and L. Ye (2017), Two regions of seafloor deformation generated the tsunami for the 13 November 2016, Kaikoura, New Zealand earthquake, Geophys. Res. Lett., 44, 6597–6606, doi:10.1002/2017GL073717
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:80568
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:17 Aug 2017 21:08
Last Modified:02 Feb 2018 17:33

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