Tsunami Simulation for the 2016 New Zealand Earthquake

W-phase Moment Tensor Solution (USGS)

Event time: 2016-11-13 11:02:59 UTC. Moment: 7.04e+20 Nm. Magnitude: 7.8 Mw. Focal depth: 15.5 km. Epicenter: 42.725°S   173.065°E.

Fault Model

Strike/dip/rake: 219°/38°/128°. Fault dimension: 160 km × 40 km. Shallowest depth: 5 km. Slip amount: 2.0 m.

Tsunami Simulation Result

Based on tsunami simulation, the tsunami maximum amplitude along the northern coast of Canterbury are 1 – 2 m. But some locations might experience up to 5 m tsunami. The simulation from the simple fault model matches fairly well the observed tsunami waveform. At least the simulated maximum amplitudes are consistent with the observed ones. The large uplift region is estimated to be located northeast of the epicenter and extended to offshore.


Initial surface deformation (contours). Black rectangle shows the fault plane. Star shows the epicenter.




Maximum tsunami amplitude distribution simulated using the fault model.


Simulated maximum tsunami amplitude along the coast.


Tide gauge station map.


Comparison between observed (black) and simulated (red) tsunami waveforms. Time is after the origin time.


Moment tensor solution: USGS

Tide gauge data: Land Information New Zealand

Bathymetry data: General Bathymetric Chart of the Oceans