What the Kaikoura quake did to the seabed

A marker shows much has eroded in the past few months, thanks to the lack of algae or other life.
A marker shows much has eroded in the past few months, thanks to the lack of algae or other life. Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook

Stunning shots of the changes the Kaikoura earthquake did to parts of the South Island show what otherworldly landscapes are lurking just beneath the ocean's waves.

The Reef Uplift Research Consortium, put together by the Marine Ecology Research Group at University of Canterbury, is investigating the changes, including massive swathes of land that used to be underwater now poking above the surface.

While most of the tectonic shifts occurred around Kaikoura on the east of the South Island, change happened as far away as Okiwi Bay, near Nelson.

Reef Uplift Research Consortium
"The beautiful but treacherous limestone rocks at our new Okiwi Bay site are incredibly difficult to traverse, with deep channels all around to fall into. At least one of our crew took the icy plunge." - Reef Uplift Research Consortium. Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook

Markers left on what used to be the seabed show how the lack of algae is contributing to erosion.

Reef Uplift Research Consortium
"I placed this permanent marker here 2 months ago with the washer tightly flush to the rock surface. Now, in the absence of any algae that may help dissipate the erosive forces of the tides, the surface of these rocks is slipping away rapidly. This phenomenon prevents any invertebrates or algae from settling. Thus, the surface is completely devoid of life." - Reef Uplift Research Consortium. Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook
Reef Uplift Research Consortium
"The hardened putty on this permanent bolt was once flush to the surface of the rock. Now there is a 3cm gap, which indicates rapid erosion of the surface rock." - Reef Uplift Research Consortium. Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook
Reef Uplift Research Consortium
"A new locale called Wharenui on the north coast had considerable uplift." - Reef Uplift Research Consortium. Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook

Maps of the area may have to be redrawn, so much new land has appeared.

Reef Uplift Research Consortium
"An eerie view of a largely uplifted platform at Ward beach which was once covered in algae. In the distance a member or our team searches for a suitable location to survey." - Reef Uplift Research Consortium. Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook
Reef Uplift Research Consortium
"One of our sites adjacent to South Bay has been uplifted so much that many of the once sprawling algal beds are now bare rock. We've continued to monitor our old transects but there are few organisms to record. Now the majority of seaweeds are mostly confined to a thin band near the water line where the intertidal zone has been greatly reduced in breadth." - Reef Uplift Research Consortium. Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook
Reef Uplift Research Consortium
"An aerial view of the Kaikoura peninsula shows some clearly uplifted platforms and new areas now permanently above high-water mark." - Reef Uplift Research Consortium. Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook

This is most evident in aerial shots of the region, especially around Kaikoura itself.r

Reef Uplift Research Consortium
"Surveying the affected coastline it was evident that many reefs experienced some degree of uplift. Future research will focus on the spectrum of ecological effects spurred by this massive geologic event." - Reef Uplift Research Consortium Photo credit: Reef Uplift Research Consortium/Facebook

The Reef Uplift Research Consortium's findings were presented at a marine conference in Christchurch earlier this week.

Newshub.