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TIDAL WAVE ON THE NEW ZEALAND COAST.

EXTRAORDINARY DISTURBANCES IN WELLINGTON HARBOR. This morning, shortly before 7 o'clock, when the tide was at a little more than three-quarters ebb, a considerable commotion was caused among the shipping, and general ainaxement on the part of all who were about at the time; by the suddeu rush of so vast a volume of water into the bay that, in alwitt a quarter of au hour, the tide had risen above the usual high-water mark. It then receded with equal rapidity, and low-water mark was reached ¦within another 15 minutes. From this time the tide continued to ebb and flow at intervals gradually decreasing from 15 minutes at 8 a.m. to 10 minutes at 10 a.m.. the amount of rise and fall diminishing proportionately. At 8 a.m. the difference was nearly oft, which by 10 had docreased to 2ft. At' noon the intervals of ebb and flow were only seven minutes, and the rise about a foot. At the corner of the old reclaimed land, by the rear of the Lion Foundry, where the opening is left between the piles of the new reclamation sea wall, tho tidal wave rushed in and out with terrific force and the speed of a mill-race, as may be imagined when it is recollected that the whole area of the water enclosed within the sea wall had to be raised from 4ft to sft, and then lowered to the same extent within a period of about fifteen minutes. When the rush was at its strongest, the mass of water rolled in as a big wave between the piles, running at the rate of fully seven or eight knots. The impetus of the outflow carried it far beyond the Queen's Wharf, past which a volume of turbid and discolored water rushed until checked by the next incoming tide. Thus the surface of the harbor was a series of eccentric eddies and whirls, which in several cpses had the appearance of being caused by au actual upheaval. The disturbances have continued all day, nud the ordinary tides were quite at a discount, high aud low water eacli having occurred some twenty times between 7 a.m. and 3 p.m. Several times when boats or small craft moving about were caught in these tides they were rendered quite unmanageable, add several accidents were narrowly escaped. The barque Australind, while shifting her I>crth at the wharf, was caught by one of the tide-rushes and very nearly was driven right on to the end of the outer T, and just escaped running her jib-lxwm through the shed. No record of any actual mishap has reached us, however, up to the time of our going to pross. The cause of this phenomenon probably will be fouud to have been a great earthquake to the eastward of New Zealand, as was the case in respect to the similar tidal disturbance in August, 1868, when it was traced to a terrible earthquake in South America. It is much to be feared that telegrams at an early date will bring us intelligence of somo deplorable disaster of this kind. There is au alternative but less probable hypothesis, viz., that the wave may have been thrown on to our coasts by, the great cyclone which has just been passing to the eastward of these islands. Tho following telegrams from other parts of this colony show that the tidal wave has raited all parts of the East Coast: — Lyttelton, 11th, 9 a.m.— Rush of wave in and out of the harbour at 7 a.m. Bar. 29-75. Wind W., light, fine. Napier, 11th, 9 a.m.— Tidal disturbance occurred this morning. High water proper was at 4 a.m.. when there was an extremely high tide. At 7 a.m. the tide commenced to rise rapidly, and at 7*15 was as high as good spring tides. It fell as rapidly, after which the tide immediately commenced to rise again, and at 8 o'clock was -as high as ordinary neap tide. It then again fell rapidly, and is now rising again. Poverty Bay, 11th, 9.10 a.m.— -The sea got up yesterday afternoon, but has since gone down again. Strange phenomena occurred in the tides this morning. At three quarters ebb the water rushed in to past the usual highwater mark, then receded) and a second rush in took' place, but not quite so much as the first* Bar. 29.90; wind; W.S.W., strimg; dbudy.." Akaroa, 11th, noon.— A heavy' tidal way*' was experienced here this morning, first rft seven o'clock, when it was nearly dead low water. The sea came in with great force, and receded in a few minutes, the rise and fall being abont eight feet. Waves still are coming in at intervals of about twenty minutes. No damage is reported. Port CHALMKHSf-llthj 11.35 a.m.—Extraordinary fluctuations of tide are now going on here. At 10.30 a.m. to-day, the flood- tide rose five inches in seven .minutes, and fell immediately afterwards two inches in three minutes. Bluff, llth> 12.15 p.m.— Tidal waves have been rushing in and out every hour since 9 a.m. The rise and fall is 4ft to sft. Oamaru, 11th, 11.30 a.m.— There has been an extraordinary sea commotion since midnight. Tidal or volcanic waves are coming from the north-eastward, and are ebbing and flowing Bft to 10ft. No damage has been done to the shipping as yet. Napier, 11th, 12.30 p.m.— The following special telegram has been received by the Napier Telegraph :— " Great tidal disturbances occurred all through last night at Gisborne, and this morning, at three o'clock, the tide being about three-quarters ebb, a tidal wave came over the bay, and rose eight feet above the top of the hull of the s.s. Go-Ahead. The men on board had to fly to the rigging to save their lives. The wave struck the bar, which partially broke it, but it nevertheless caused 8 sudden rise in the river from three to four feet, overflowing the banks of the low-lying, portions. At 9.%, another heavy wave ran- up the river, causing great alarm. At 9.45, there was another, and almost immediately afters wards a fourth. The weather is fine, with a fresh breeze blowing. The water in the bay is much agitated. The cause is supposed- to be some subterranean upheaval." (Per Press Agency.) Napier, 11th. — There has been a remark* able tide fluctuation here since 11 o'clock last night. The tide has flooded and ebbed twice every hour. At high tide this morning the water was over Watt's wharf. Light west wind. Lyttelton, 11th. — A strange disturbance has been felt in the harbor all the morning, the water rising and falling rapidly, after hathur been above the usual high water-mark at half flood, and it has fallen exceedingly "low. No damage has been done to shipping. Christchurch, 11th. There wai "a strange tidal disturbance this: mining fin Lyttelton harbor from seven o'clock tfll late (one o'clock). ' The water has been rising and falling in an unnfiual manner, at times rising three feet in a few minutes and falling equally rapidly. No damage was done. It was felt in Waimakariri, also andatTiuuru.

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https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP18770511.2.11

Bibliographic details

TIDAL WAVE ON THE NEW ZEALAND COAST., Evening Post, Volume XV, Issue 110, 11 May 1877

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1,191

TIDAL WAVE ON THE NEW ZEALAND COAST. Evening Post, Volume XV, Issue 110, 11 May 1877

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