Earthquake, possible tsunami threat

There was been a 7.8 earthquake of the Solomon Islands an hour ago (followed by 5.5 and 5.2 aftershocks so far).

There is a potential tsunami risk to New Zealand, but no known imminent threat

It would be wise to be cautious about going anywhere near sea level at the top of the North Island until more is known.

How do you know if and when it’s safe? I don’t really know, apart from listening to news and checking Civil Defence.

Their national website says:


All of New Zealand is at risk of earthquakes and all of our coastline is at risk of tsunami. We can’t predict when one will happen, but we can protect ourselves and our family.

But also

No declared emergencies

Friday 9 Dec7:53 am

Three hours earlier there was a 6.5 earthquake off the coast of California.


Tsunami warning

Following this morning’s earthquake off the east coast of the North Island there’s been a few complaints about the delay in Civil Defence issuing a tsunami warning.

Newstalk ZB, in Civil Defence response to tsunami threat questioned, detailed the timing:

NZ:Timeline of earthquake response

4.37am earthquake strikes
4.41am – The Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management receives initial notification of a magnitude 6.3 earthquake from GNS Science
4.53am – GNS upgrades quake to a 7.1
These earthquakes did not meet the threshold for automatic issuing of a potential tsunami threat, ministry says
5.10am – Ministry issues an earthquake notification
Pacific Tsunami Warning Centre finds no tsunami threat in their initial assessment
5.33am – Ministry issues national advisory for a potential tsunami threat. Says it’s proactive while awaiting confirmation from scientists
5.58am – A tsunami warning is issued
8.30am – Cancellation message sent at 8.30am.

I think common sense should be used:

If you feel an earthquake take cover as soon as you can – it’s called Drop, Cover, Hold but just immediately protect yourself as well as you can.

Once the shaking has finished take care in case anything has been loosened or weakened.

If you are anywhere near the seashore treat it as a tsunami risk until you fond out otherwise – assume danger unless you are confident it’s safe.

When you can check online or on TV or the radio to see what warnings may have been issued, but if you don’t find any warnings or all clears continue to take care.

Official advice may help, eventually, but don’t rely on it, use common sense.

If I get clobbered by an earthquake or wiped out by a tsunami I would put it down to bad luck, or not being sensible and taking responsibility for myself.

An earthquake should be sufficient warning of potential tsunami risk.

Tsunami blip here

There’s been minor signs of tsunami from the Chilean earthquake, nothing to worry about here but worth being cautious about.

It’s amazing that we get any sign of an earthquake from the far side of the Pacific Ocean, over 9,000 kilometres away.

Fortunately there seem to have been relatively low casualties in Chile (currently reported at 10 deaths) from the massive 8.3 earthquake, although a million people were evacuated to higher ground. As reports come out there appears to have been significant damage.

It always takes a day or two for a realistic picture of an earthquake like this to emerge.

Stuff has video and image coverage: Clean-up begins in Chile as earthquake death toll rises

This shows how seismically active our planet is (>4.5 over the last 7 days):