On Sunday after church, we drove north of Kaikoura, for the first time since the 7.8 earthquake 14 months ago. We have gotten used to seeing the new look of the cliff faces to the south of Kaikoura, but to see the ones to the north was incredible. It was shocking and awe-inspiring, all over again, to see the devastation wrought in that minute or two of shaking. We have certainly learned a lot about geology and plate tectonics and natural disasters in the past year.
This is just past Ohau Point, where the worst slip happened during the quake. We used to go to this spot to watch baby seals play in a pool at the base of a waterfall here. According to someone who walked back in there soon after the quake, the waterfall still exists but the pool has been filled in. Here are before-and-after pictures of the same hillside.
This is approximately the place where three cows were stranded on top of an island of soil when the hillside around them fell away.The owners of this farm have lost a lot of their land, and because the Clarence River has changed course, if it floods they are in danger of losing their home and all their farm buildings.
The Clarence River in flood from rain in the High Country.
Here is a picture I took a number of years ago of the bridge above.
We were fascinated to see the evidence of seafloor uplift along the coast. All the white rocks used to be permanently underwater; the old low-tide line used to be at the top of the white line.
This was a spot we were especially interested in. We saw pictures immediately after the quake of a fault line at Waipapa Bay, where the rock looked like it had been sliced with a knife and uplifted 6-8 meters. We believe this is the spot.
More evidence of the seabed uplifting.
A new road/bridge was built out over the seabed at Iron Gate. This bridge was completed after just 14 weeks! The road construction crews were putting in very long hours so the road could be opened before Christmas.
The waves were quite high on Sunday afternoon when we went through. It was getting near low tide then, but when we drove to Kaikoura in the morning it had been high tide, and there was seawater on the road in places from waves breaking at the edge of the cliff. During the next high tide, during the night, waves washed some of the 5-ton blocks of concrete from the seawalls completely across the road! As a result, the road was closed for the morning on Monday while the blocks were put back in place.