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Ship-to-Shore opportunity for East Coast communities


East Coast communities will soon get the opportunity to delve into the details of the research ship work occurring off the coast to learn more about New Zealand’s largest fault the Hikurangi subduction zone.

The expedition, jointly led by NIWA and the University of Auckland, is the first of two aboard the scientific drilling research vessel JOIDES Resolution, operated by the US National Science Foundation.

The scientists will spend six weeks, including Christmas and New Year, at sea between 30 and 100km off the coast of Gisborne, studying two main features of the area: slow-slip earthquakes and submarine landslides.

The scientists will collect drilling data up to 1200m beneath the seafloor, at three sites, that range in water depth from about 1000m to 3500m. During the drilling, instruments will record physical information about the rock types that are thought to host the subduction fault.

Put together, this information will reveal the causes of these phenomena and improve understanding of the risk that the plate boundary poses to communities along the East Coast and rest of the country.

The public are invited to attend a live video broadcast from the research vessel, where they will be given a tour of the ship and meet some of the NZ scientists and crew on board. The virtual tour of the ship will take 40 minutes. 

Scientists involved in the land-based component of this work will be at the Ship–to-Shore event in Gisborne to answer any questions following the virtual tour.

This event has been arranged by East Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary), a project which makes it easy and exciting to learn more about natural hazards and how they affect us living on the coast near the Hikurangi plate boundary.

Kate Boersen of East Coast LAB says “We want to help ensure the communities are aware of the research that is going on and also understand their earthquake and tsunami risk.”

Napier: Tuesday 5th December at 7pm at the LAB, a natural hazards education space at the National Aquarium of New Zealand, 546 Marine Parade, Napier South, Napier 4110

Gisborne: Thursday 14th December at 6pm, Watson Room, Gisborne Cosmopolitan Club, 190 Derby Street. Gisborne 4010

Working at sea changes all the time and attendees are encouraged to check East Coast LAB’s Facebook page on the day to ensure the start time is confirmed.

Schools and other groups are able to sign up to have ship tour here:

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