Elizabeth Garlick

The National Geohazards Monitoring Centre Te Puna Mōrearea i te Rū is live!

Published: Wed Dec 19 2018 12:00 PM

GNS Science has opened the National Geohazards Monitoring Centre – powered by GeoNet.

On Wednesday 12 December 2018 the National Geohazards Monitoring Centre (NGMC) went live. The opening of the NGMC means great things for our users.

Building on the service that we’ve delivered for the last 17 years, the NGMC provides rapid and robust geohazards monitoring and advisory services to decision makers here in New Zealand.

It’s a world-leading centre that monitors four perils that New Zealanders face: earthquakes, tsunami, volcano-related events, and landslides. It’s the first time a single centre such as this has monitored these four geohazards.

The new centre is staffed by Geohazards Analysts (GHAs) and they have their eyes on the screen around the clock. Working in three shifts over a 24-hour period the GHAs ensure that all events are captured. That means we have rapid event analysis and response initiation when required.

Events handled by our GHAs can be escalated to on-call duty officers. This enables a fast response to be initiated until the duty officer (who could be at work, at home, or even asleep!) can review. It’s a new way of working, with more eyes on the screen and a greater combined event response effort, ensuring we provide timely and reliable information after a geohazard event.

Our GHAs spend most of their time detecting and locating earthquakes, as these are the most frequent geohazard events in New Zealand. They also assess the tsunami potential of offshore earthquakes and those that occur close to water.

What does it mean for you?

  • Our GHAs capture and locate all detectable seismic events. This means that you can have confidence in our catalogue as every earthquake in our recent quakes list has been reviewed.

  • In an event you’ll have the best location and magnitude for that quake within minutes. Previously it might have taken us a bit longer to gather and process all necessary data as this work was handled by one person – our duty officer.

  • Less “ghost” quakes, false detections and mislocations will show up in your feed because our GHAs will be actively locating events themselves. We expect a few of these will still happen due to the nature of our network and geography, but they should be “cleaned up” rapidly.

The best way to introduce you to the centre, is for you to see it! Here’s a video of the opening of the NGMC starting with a kawanga whare (dawn blessing) by our local kaumatua.

The support of our partners MBIE, MCDEM, EQC and LINZ has made the centre possible. We thank you for your contributions and support.