The Kaikoura Earthquake Landslides

On November 14, 2016, the South Island of New Zealand experienced a 7.8 magnitude earthquake named the Kaikoura Earthquake after the town of Kaikoura near the quake’s epicentre. The affected region is mountainous with steep slopes and the earthquake resulted in a large number of landslides, including creating some landslide dams (a topic we have covered in the past).

The Landslide Blog has done a number of posts on the Kaikoura landslides (1, 2, 3 and 4). It also mentions this article, which shows a map of the locations of the landslides so far identified using Sentinel 2 imagery.

We thought it would be interesting to examine the sentinel 2 Imagery in Google Earth. The image in question has quite a lot of cloud cover, but in the gaps between the clouds we can see the scars of a large number of landslides. It must be noted that landslides appear to be common in the region, with many landslide scars being visible in older imagery, too. Here are a couple of ‘before and afters’ showing just how many landslides there were in some places.

After image: Copernicus Sentinel data, 2016.

After image: Copernicus Sentinel data, 2016.

We processed the Sentinel 2 imagery using GeoSage’s Spectral Discovery.

To explore the Sentinel 2 imagery for yourself using Google Earth download this KML file

Timothy has been using Google Earth since 2004 when it was still called Keyhole before it was renamed Google Earth in 2005 and has been a huge fan ever since. He is a programmer working for Red Wing Aerobatx and lives in Cape Town, South Africa.


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