12 May 2014

Quake instruments placed on seafloor

11:20 am on 12 May 2014

Highly sensitive seismometers are being placed off the east coast of New Zealand to measure slow underwater earthquakes.


Photo: GNS Science

Scientists from New Zealand, Japan and the United States will spend 10 days deploying the instruments from the RV Tangaroa, a NIWA research ship, east of Gisborne.

The instruments will remain on the seabed for about a year.

Geological and Nuclear Sciences said slow earthquakes occur over weeks and months as a result of the Pacific and Australian tectonic plates meeting.

Marine geo-science head Vaughan Stagpoole said the instruments will give a full picture of what is happening underwater for the first time. Until now, research has come from instruments on land.

The ship sailed on Saturday.