Story: Landslides

Ruatōria Giant Avalanche

Ruatōria Giant Avalanche

This diagram shows the massive underwater landslide (known as the Ruatōria Giant Avalanche) that occurred off the east coast of the North Island 135,000–155,000 years ago. Part of the continental shelf collapsed and slid down to the Hikurangi Trough, on the deep sea floor. An event of this scale would have caused a tsunami. Such submarine avalanches occur rarely; smaller slips are much more common. The colossal size of this slide dwarfs even the largest landslide on the New Zealand mainland.

About this item

NIWA – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research

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How to cite this page:

Michael J. Crozier, 'Landslides - Hill country, regolith and submarine landslides', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/map/8797/ruatoria-giant-avalanche (accessed 29 March 2017)

Story by Michael J. Crozier, published 12 Jun 2006