New Zealand: Coastal communities threatened by undersea earthquakes they cannot feel, seismologist warns

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By Mike Watson

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Research seismologist Bill Fry said the northern New Zealand coast was prone to tsunami caused by large subduction plus magnitude 8 earthquakes occurring from as far away as South America, or as close as the Kermadec trench north of New Zealand.

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Fry, who will lecture on the subject in New Plymouth next week, said densely populated coastal areas on the north coast of New Zealand may not experience shaking that is significant enough to trigger effective and widespread self-evacuation after a great subduction earthquake along the Kermadec trench.

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Fry said to be able to reduce the number of lives lost from large regional earthquakes, self - evacuation messaging must be carefully explained, together with scientific monitoring and alert mechanisms to protect vulnerable populations living in coastal areas.

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