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Multiple scenario tsunami modelling for Christchurch


This research models wave heights at coast, inundation depths and water velocities for Christchurch for multiple regional and distant source tsunami scenarios, including 3m and 5m wave height at coast scenarios and 'worst case' scenarios up to 12m wave height at the coast.

The modelling shows that the largest threat for Christchurch in terms of potential area inundated is a large distant-source tsunami from South America (Peru), followed by a large distant source tsunami from Central America and large regional-source tsunamis from the Kermadec and Hikurangi subduction zones to the east and north of the North Island. Local-source tsunamis generated in Pegasus Bay created smaller waves than the distant and regional-source tsunamis.

The primary purpose of the modelling was to delineate tsunami evacuation zones and inform public education and evacuation/response planning. The modelling assumes the largest tsunami wave arrives at high tide at the current sea level, and does not take into account different sea level rise scenarios.


Emergency management relevance

This research provides modelled inundation depths and water velocities for multiple tsunami scenarios for Christchurch, and can be used for tsunami evacuation zones, evacuation and response planning, infrastructure planning, public education and some types of land use planning.


Additional information

Authors: Christof Mueller, Xiaoming Wang, William Power, Bilijana Lukovic

Date: 2019

Funders: Environment Canterbury

Format: GNS Science report

Reference: Mueller, C., Wang, X., Power, W. L., Lukovic, B. (2019). Multiple scenario tsunami modelling for Canterbury. GNS Science Consultancy Report 2019/198.