This weekend we’ll be boarding the NIWA research vessel, Tangaroa, with an international team of scientists from New Zealand, US and Japan to install and retrieve scientific instruments, off the coast of Gisborne, Hawke's Bay, and the Wairarapa.
This research voyage is a part of a scientific investigation into earthquakes and slip behaviour at the Hikurangi subduction zone to learn more about the earthquake and tsunami risk it poses to New Zealand.
We know that Hikurangi subduction zone has produced large earthquakes and tsunami in the past. However, we don’t know how often these earthquakes occur or how large they can be so we’re trying to figure out how the subduction zone behaves.
During our two weeks at sea, we will be deploying and retrieving, Bottom Pressure Recorders (BPRs), Ocean Bottom Seismometers (OBSs) and GPS-Acoustic instruments. It is especially exciting as we will have the latest generation of Pressure Ocean Bottom Seismometers (POBSs) from the US, which will hopefully solve some issues that we’ve had with OBSs.
This week we ventured to GNS Science in Avalon, Lower Hutt and met some of the scientists we will be working with on-board as well as some of the scientists that developed the instruments. They were all busy testing the instruments we will be deploying during our voyage.
As PhD students, we are excited to work alongside so many specialists who are experienced in seafloor seismology (study of earthquakes and seismic waves that move through and around the earth) and geodesy (study of the shape and area of the earth using mathematics).
Neither of us have been on a voyage before, so everything is new to us. We have had a lot to prepare including maritime medical exams, audiology tests, safety inductions, bright orange personal protective equipment and most importantly - trying to find effective sea sickness medication (fingers crossed).
On Saturday 6th October, all the instruments will be loaded onto the ship and we will have a couple more safety inductions before departing Wellington later that day. We plan to return on Friday 19th October assuming everything goes swimmingly.
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