That Massive Earthquake Really Just Ripped New Zealand Apart

A drone captured the huge gash created by the magnitude 7.8 quake.

GNS Science

Stunning new video taken by a drone shows just how powerful the magnitude 7.8 earthquake that shook New Zealand on November 14 really was. The quake killed two people, ruined railroads, and closed off highways across the twin-island nation, cutting some small towns off from the rest of the world. Perhaps the most dramatic result of the quake, though, is the giant gash that now runs along the Kekerengu Fault, near the northeast corner of the country’s South Island.

The new video, which was taken by GNS Science, shows parts of the rupture in the Earth’s surface, which GNS Science estimates to be almost 20 miles long. The earthquake pulled the land apart by up to 10 feet, and raised the land on one side of the fault by as much as two meters.

The earthquake shook New Zealand for two and a half minutes. In the week since the big shakeup, there have been more than 1,800 aftershocks, though most of them have been very, very small.

Drones are an invaluable tool in the wake of an Earthquake, as this footage goes to show.

GNS Science recorded another video of the scene along the Papatea Fault, which is located in the same general area of New Zealand as the Kekerengu Fault.

The earthquake didn’t just change the land — entire portions of the seafloor along the coast were ripped up out of the water.

Researchers say the event was “one of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded on land.” Normally, an earthquake ruptures along a single fault, but seismologists observed the New Zealand earthquake “jumping from rupture on one plane to another in a complex sequence.”