Successful Raoul Island Visit

Published: Thu Jun 30 2022 10:00 AM

Raoul Island, home to our northernmost tsunami gauge site, recently had a visit from three staff in our Remote Infrastructure Management team. The team travelled to Raoul in June to repair a damaged coastal tsunami gauge and undertake some much-needed maintenance work.

Lying approximately 1100 km northeast of Auckland, Raoul Island is an important geohazard monitoring station for New Zealand, well positioned for us to detect and measure Kermadec earthquakes. It also provides us essential insight into the presence, size, and arrival-timing of Tsunami waves.

Remote sites, such as Raoul Island, come with their unique set of challenges. Tropical cyclones, landslides and frequent earthquakes are regular natural hazards that impact the area. The relentless encroachment of the natural plant life on our infrastructure is another!

If you like to keep an eye on our volcano cameras, you may have noticed the Raoul Island webcam had recently become almost totally blinded by foliage. It took our team nearly an hour to find the webcam, which is situated ~100 metres from the main site, as it was hidden by two-metre-high bracken fern that had reclaimed the area over the summer.

Following some much-needed hard pruning, the webcam is once again able to send unobstructed images back to our GeoNet Webpage.

View from our Raoul Island camera ‘before’ our gardening efforts

View from our Raoul Island camera ‘before’ our gardening efforts

And after, thanks to Ashton (pictured).

And after, thanks to Ashton (pictured).

To the north of the island, the tsunami monitoring site at Fishing Rock received a new set of pressure sensors, installed by commercial divers on the ocean floor. Back on land, technicians worked to replace the cast iron cable armouring, install a new mast and cabinet enclosure, and set up a new solar system to power it all. The southern tsunami monitoring site at Boat Cove was treated to the same, with a bonus of a new battery bank to keep it running through the short winter days.

While working at Raoul Island, the team were treated to views of sea turtles surfacing in the bay and enjoyed the abundant birdlife, subtropical vistas, and a bounty of fresh citrus from the 140-year-old orange grove planted to stave off scurvy.

Kris and Dave working on GNS’ Boat Cove tsunami monitoring site.

Kris and Dave working on GNS’ Boat Cove tsunami monitoring site.

With ten days of bush-bashing and repairs and six days on the water, the team returned safe and well with our home-based views of the island restored and our monitoring stations fit to stand up to another season.

Kermadec red crested Parakeet

Kermadec red crested Parakeet

Attributable to: Ashton McGill, Remote Infrastructure Technician II

Media Contact: 021 574541 or media@gns.cri.nz