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EARTHQUAKES AND TIDAL WAVES IN NEW ZEALAND.

{From The Colonist, August 18.)

A SHAKP shock of earthquake, the sharpest that has been felt in Nelson for five or six years, was experienced on Monday, August 17, at three minutes before ten o'clock (telegraphic time). The motion was a kind of rolling movement, and there appeared to be two shocks, the seeming second one being probably only the return action. The tremor seemed to last about a quarter of a minute, and was very distinctly felt.

A few minutes after seven o'clock yesterday morning, a slight shock, noticed only by a few, so far as we can learn, was observed here, and was distinctly felt by some why reside on tho higher grounds. We noted it, and heard the creak of the timbers, winch confirmed the first feeling, as there was at tho time no wind.

In Wellington the shock was felt almost simultaneously with Nelson, namely 956, and is described as a " sharp shake," which in Wellington means a good deal more than it means in Nelson. The tides too yesterday exhibited variations similar to those noticed here, and fears were entertained that severer shocks would follow, and consequently not a little excitement prevails in Wellington. From Christchurch our correspondent telegraphs as follows :—"A strong earthquake shock from East to West, was felt at one minute past ten. It lasted eoine seconds. In Lyttelton and Chrislchurch the people aro greatly excited, for although no damage has been done to any building, yot the shook is the most violent that has ever been experienced in Canterbury." In connection with this earthquake, and as bearing on the question of subterranean convulsions, are a series of unusual tidal phenomena, which have been witnessed here and elsewhere during the last three days.

On Saturday morning, in common with Wellington, Marlborough, Canterbury, Otago, and. Southland, Nelson experienced a singular tidal occurrence, which, not unnaturally, startled tho people of the City of Wellington, whose land sustained a permanentupheaval of two feet after the earthquake of January, 1855. By information obtained from Mr. Cross, tho chief pilot, we learn that it was high water here on Saturday morning at63o,atwhichtimethetide began to recede in its customary way, and continued running out until 754. At this time the water suddenly returned, the tide rising rapidly until 8 o'clock, rushing in in all directions over the Boulder Bank, ■which from the shore appeared, says Mr. Cro?s, to have at the time more water upon it than it hart at high water an hour and a half previously. Heestimat.es the wave at about four feet in height;. About twelve o'clock the same day, during the last quarter of the ebb tide, workmen engaged repairing the schooner Elfin, lying near Mr. Gibbons' wharf, report that at this time there had been another return of the tide, as a stage, (which they left dry when they went to dinner at twelve, with the water nearly two feet below the staging,) was all wet, showing that it had been aubmerged during their absence. At 4-50 p.m. of the game day, while the flood tide was running into the harbor at about four miles an hour, the flow suddenly stopped until 5"10, and then recommenced to run with more than the usual rapidity, the increasod velocity of flow being particularly noticeable over the Boulder Bank. About the Bame time the master of the steamer Lady Barkly, (Captain Walker,) which •was then lying at the wharf at Motueka, reports that the water suddenly fell two feet, as was shown by the tide pole erected adjacent to the wharf. On Sunday morning it was high water at 740. At this time the tido began to ebb and continued to run out for about ten minutes ; but suddenly turned and flowed in rapidly for four or five minutes, re-covering the previous tide mark, and causing the man at the signal station, who had hauled down the red flag which notifies that high water had passed, to rehoiat it to show that the tide -was still making. On Sunday afternoon, again, the tido Was signalled as having

commenced to run in at T3O p.m., but the flag was pulled clown and not again exhibited until 2-10, which would seem to indicate the incursion of another small tidal wave checking the regular outflow of the water.

Yesterday morning, the tide which should have flowed until about 9.30, stopped liaU-an-hour sooner, and a much longer time than usual elapsed, ere the outflow began. The wave of Saturday has been observed, as we have said, all over the Middle Island. The Airedale's advices say nothing about its having been noticed at Taranaki, although at Wellington it was peculiarly marked. Telegrams from that city received on Saturday, state that thewaterin the harbor, or rather large land-locked bay of that port, was subject to numerous risings and fallings that morning, which greatly startled the inhabitants, as it was considered that these tidal aberrations portended an earthquake, as similar abnormal occurrences preceded the great earthquake of 1855. In the extreme South of the Middle Island the wave was not less observable. A telegram from Inverrarjill, in Southland, says that " the tide rose and fell considerably ; and the sea receded ten chains (660 feet) in some places." This of course would be observable on shallow shores like those of Southland.

Judging from all the facts narrated above, probably, or, to speak more indefinitely, possibly, (for it were mere empiricism to attempt prediction respecting the operations of such stupendous forces of Nature, before which all human efforts are as dust) possibly the motive power has for the time exhausted itself. "The probability is that the tidal wave of Saturday last, was the spent indication of an earthquake, whoso centi-e of action was under the ocean, in a locality lying at some distance in an easterly direction from Cook Strait. These sub-oceanic earthquakes, to which an intelligent correspondent refers in a letter we publish this morning, are of frequent occurrence. An unrecorded instance was given to us by the master of the Sylphide, which was in Nelson about two years ago. He was on a voyage from Batavia to Oliili, and when in the South Pacific, 300 miles from any land or known rock, or shoal, in calm weather, the ship experienced a sudden shock as if she had struck on a sandbank, although at the time she was out of soundings. It seemed as if the bottom of the vessel had received a sharp vertical biow. As yet, we know nothing as to whether the northern part of the North Island has experienced the shock of yesterday morning ; but, if we may judge from the fact that, at Wellington and Nelson, in 1855 the shock was vastly more severe than that of yesterday, while down South it was comparatively trivial, and. couple that with the other fact that yesterday's motion was the most violent ever sustained in Canterbury, we appear to have some warrant for the conclusion that the centre of volcanic action as regards these islands lws somewhat shifted within recent years ; that such centre may not be so near to Cook Strait as by past earthquakes it is generally supposed at one time to have been ; and that the tidal wave, —or more properly the sea-wave, —of Siiturdny would seem to show that some sub-oceanic locality in a more easterly direction from Cook Strait may now be the sent of central activity as respects these islands. The3e, however, are little more than conjectures; and it will be interesting to note information from the North as to whether any activity is apparent in the volcano of Tongur'ro, and what effects have been noticed in the district of the hot springs in Auckland Provnee. Information respecting tbe more or less active volcanic isl.'iud called White- Isliind, on the cast coast of the North Island, would be particularly' interesting at this juncture.

The following are further particulars respecting these occurrences:— WELLINGTON. Respecting the tidal wave, it appears that at "Wellington it was expected, and generally talked of, for a week beforehand, that there would be an unusual rise of water on Saturday, attended with earthquakes. At every hotel (saya the Wellington Independent of Tuesday,) the common expression was, "We're all going to be swamped on Saturday," of course, generally, both spoken aud heard in a half-incredulous manner, but we have been unable to trace this rumor to its source. We can only say that the prognostication proved correct. On Saturday morning the water rose in an unusual manner, and consequently great excitement prevailed throughout the whole town.

The first indication of tbo wave was about half-past eight o'clock in the morning, and from that hour up to noon, the tide kept " bumping " against the brickwork beside the watermen's gridiron ; sometimes rising above high water mark and then suddenly receding. The time for high water was three o'clock in the afternoon, and dead low water at nine in the morning. There was a crowd of persons on the wharf. The greatest observable dilFerence in the tidal level was about eight feet. At Te Aro the water almost came up to the public street, and floated a quantity of timber which lay a distance of twenty yards from tho high water level. But a still more remarkable effect was caused at the mouth of the Ngahaurangn river, where a bar of gravel has been thrown up to the height of two or three feet. The reasons given for this extraordinary event are various. Some say that it is the precursor of a great earthquake ; others that it ha 3 been occasioned by the recent earthquakes at St. Thomas. At all events, two slight shocks of earthquake were felt here yesterday morning shortly after ten o'clock. It is supposed that the wave travelled westward, and some say that it had something to do with a solar eclipse which re« cently occurred in India. LYTTELTON. We take the following from the LyHelton Times: —We learn fiom Mr. Webb, night watchman on the railway, the following particulars. He states that at 4< o'clock on Saturday morning he noticed the John Kuox, barque, lying on her starboard broadside, and her yards nearly touching the jetty alongside of which blio was discharging her cargo. Ho immediately gave an alarm and aroused Captain Jenkins, who came on deck, and on looking over the side he saw that the harbor from the wharf to Officer's Point was quite dry, and that all the vessek and boats were high and dry ; he called Webb's attention to this, and they both noted the fact that the harbor was empty. In a few minutes their attention was directed to a noise resembling thunder, or a strong wind, coming from oIF Officer's Point; there was no wind at the time on shore. On looking, they saw an immense wave coming up the harbor, and making its way towards the head of the bay. In a few minutes it was surging round the vessels, tearing them from the different wharves, and breaking their warps like twine. It caught the John Knox, barque, and dashed her sgainst the screw-pile jetty, carrying away her starboard quarter, and snapping her best bovver cable, also the 8-inch hawsers which held her to the wharf. The ketch Margaret lying on the beacli near the Government wharf had her warps earned away, and on the rebound of the wave she was carried into the harbor, where she fouled the schooner Annie Brown, carrying away her own bulwarks, stanchions, and lnninuinst, and also doing some damage to the schooner. The schooner Jeanie Duncan, which hi• only just received a thorough overhaul, was lying at the Kiiilway wharf alongside tho p.s. Novelty. The former has sustained considerable damage, and the Novelty had her bulwarks and stanchions from the foro to tho main rigging destroyed ; her boat was also broken and drifted under the screw-pile- jetty. The drawback out of the harbor took Iho Novelty down as fur us Grollun's Bay, where she tried to brinor up, buther best bower anchor and chain snapped by this time, however, she had steam up, and was able to steam against it.

For some hours tho tido kept rising nnd falling rapidly. At G a.m. the tido was below low water mark, and in a quarter of an hour afterwards, it was above high water mnrk ; tho current was (earful, and the water surged round the vessels like a whirlpool. As instances of the effects of this remarkable phenomenon upon the shipping, we may mention that (he ship Colcroon spun round like a fop, and lhn schooner Dove came up the harbor aa fust us a steamer, dead against a westerly breeze, with all canvas on her. The current afterwards swept her broadside on for two miles up the harbor, before she was able to get steering way. At half-paat 9 o'clock another roller

came into the harbor and ngaiu caught the John Knox, which was, at that time, on the mud; in a few minutes her warps had ported, and the vessel was swung round, fortunately clenr of the whart. Tiietid) again commenced to rise and fall rapidly, sometimes 3 feet in five minutes. At 10.30 the pilot boat crew arrived from the Heads, but it appears from their statement they had noticed nothing uncommon, ouly that the tide was very high; the keeper from the quarantine station also came up, but he had not noticed anything, except that at 6 30 the tide was lower by si hundred yards than he had ever seen it. Mr. Mitchell, of Gollan's Bay, states that at halfpast 3 a.m. he heard an unusual noise, and at the same time the house was shaken as if by an earthquake. The watch on board the barque A. H. Badger, state they heard, nn hour previous to the wave coming In, three distinct noises like rushing wind. From the oflicer on board the Coleroon, we learn that at 3 o'clock the water commenced rushing out .of the harbor at the rate of 12 knots an hour, and left the vessel on the mud bottom; at 4 p.rathe vessel gave a tremendous lurch, a-;d commenced going round like a top, just as if the 7esdel was in a whirlpool, and it continued until eight o'clock. We also learn that the ketch Georgina is wrecked in Rhodes' Buy, and that the schooner Onehunga fouled the Antelope cutter, carrying away her stanchions from the rigging aft. The large buoy off Officer Point was carried into Diimpier Bay. At 11 o'clock the steamer Taranaki entered the Heads, and as she stopped there some time, it was feared there might be something wrong, as she was seen broadside on. It turned out, however, that she stopped to pick up a hatch covering belonging to some large vessel; she alsa passed a full rigged mast outside the heads. Captain Francis informs us that he saw no signs of any eruption during the passage. The following is the report of Captain Jenkins, of the John Knox :—At 3.30 I heard a great noise, and the ship went down on her beam ends. I gob on deck with difficulty, and found the ship lying with her yard arms on the wharf. I could not imagine what was the matter, when hearing a noise like the rushing of a great body of water, or a strong wind, I looked out iuto the harbor. It was all dry as far as the breakwater, and a wave was rolling in about eight {Vet high ; it came up againßt the ship with great force. A. few minutes afterwards it rebounded, and caught the ship's bow, carrying away two parts of an eight-inch warp, and the best bower cable, which was shackled on to tho wharf, drugging the anchor home, with 60 fathoms cable. In 15 or 20 minutes after the wave came in, the water was within two feet of the top of the wharf, and in less than half an hour the ship was dry again. Tho water ran in and out at intervals until 10 a.m., when another rush broke three parts of her stern warp ; the ship swinging round again clear of the wharf. Captain Gibsou sent his boat and crew with tho Government warp, mnkincj it. fast to tho buoy, and passing bolh ends on board ship, by so doing the ship was kept head and stern to the current. The starboard quarter is knocked in by being dashed up against the jetty by the wave.

On Saturday afternoon the water continued in a very perturbed stale, the current running very slrong in !ind out. of the harbor. It was wiih great,difficulty that tins watermen could get off to the steamer Tarantiki, I lie boats being carried by the ntirrenl. up and down the harbor. We also learn that the jetly, 300 feet long, at the head of the buy, has been curried away,, and. that Mr. M/mson's paddocks have been Hooded. The Comerang, from Timaru, arrived in harbor yesterday morning. The- following is the Captniu's report:—At Timaru, on the morning of the 15tli instant, about five o'clock, the men nt the old Government landing service, whilst in the act of preparing to launch a cargo boat in order to come off to the Coraerang, were washed up on the beach by a sudden rise of the sea, about sis feet, which in the course of live minutes fell to a lower level than has ever been witnessed at Timaru. The sea rose and fell on the beach rapidly for four hour?, with a strong current, changing with the rise and fall of tide. In the ofling, the Cotnerang narrowly escaped parting from her anchors through a succession of whirlpools, causing the ves.sel to turn round very frequently. There were no signs of any eruption during the passage. KAIAPOI. On Saturday morning, at about 3 a.m., two hours after ebb, an immense wave, about four feet in height, rushed up the Waimakariri. The s.s. Gazelle, lying at Belcher and Co.'s wharf, broke her stern line and swung round, hanging on, however, by the bow line, which happened to be a new rope. The large schooner Challenge next broke away from Ecvell and Co.'s wharf, came into collision with the Gazelle, aud sustained considerable damage. The crew, aroused from sleep, had just timo to lut go the anchors to avoid a collision with the bridge. The William aud Julia was lifted on to the bank, but sustained no injury. The Nora and Dart, lying at Birch and Co.'s wharf, also broke adrift at first, but were brought up with no damage, except to the ropes, which parted. The first wave came up at about 3, and was followed by two others, at intervals of about a quarter of an hour ; and, up to four o'clock, seven in all, not of such magnitude as the first two or three, had, rushed up the river; one, which came up at about 8 p.m., down by Harris' Island, was considerably above the banks, although its force prevented it overflowing; coming up like a line of* breakers, the greater part of it passed up the south branch, sweeping flouting things up stream at a great pacj ; this was shortly succeeded by a backwash quite as rapid ; were it not for this branch taking a very large shave of the wave, the consequences in the town must havo beea most disastrous. It is most fortunate that h did not occur at high water, or in all probability we should have more serious consequences on land as well as in the river to record; as it was, people were looking with some anxiety for the rising of the tide. The waves coutinued to come up the river at intervals during tho day, dcing some damage to the sheet piling of tho breakwater at the Blind Creek, and tossing tho shipping about a good deal at the wharves ; a wave, which came up at about 11 a.m., smashing the dingy of tho Nora schooner to pieces. The waves did not come up with such forco when the tide rose higher, owing probably to their being able to spread over the rush beds. The Gazelle got up steum, and proceeded to moorings at a -more roomy part of the river. The bar ha 3 shifted, and has now a channel a quarter of a mile further North, aud is not safe to attempt at present. During Saturday night, and on Sunday, small waves continued to reach the town, PIGEON BAY: I Wo are indebted to Mr. G. 11. Holmes for the following : — The overseer was awoke by a rumbling noise about 4 o'clock on the morning of the 15th inst., which ho thought was tho commencement of a Bfconn, but looking out and seeing that the sky was perfectly clear, and thero was no sign of any rough weather, he took no more notice of it. On going down to work at 7 a.m., he found that some things he had placed above high water mark the previous evening had been washed away, and on looking round him, he discovered that the fide had risen 4ft. higher than the highest water mark. Going down io tho wator's edge he perceived that it was considerably lower than the ordinary low watermark; presently he saw the water coming in with a great rush, and in ten minutes it, was a foot higher than the ordinary high water mark. I had just come clown to the beach as the water was returning, when he met me and told me all the fact* I have related ; he also told me that a great triany things belonging to a vessel, at that time getting repaired, were washed away. On going round the bench we were supriscd to see fish of all descriptions lyin«,' about, having been thrown up by the water.

All this time the water kept rising- and falling; about sft. nvery half-hour, until 10 minutes to 10 a.m., when it commenced to rush in very quickly, and it rose 4ft. above highest high water mark. At twenty minutes pußt 10 a.m. it fell equally fast, and was lit its lowest point at 1035.; again at 11*15 a.m. (ho water came in with a tremendous rush, currying away a small jetty, and some gnrdon fencing, which was about 4ft. above'high water mark, and also destroying

a great number of choice garden trees. At ten minutes to 12 it retired to its lowest point. Advancing again, it came in with gret.ter force than I any of the previous waves, carrjing away a boathouse, more garden fencing, and 40,000 feet of timber, 6tacked sft. above highest water mark. I At five minutes past 12 the water retired once more. At forty minutes past 12 the wator, having risen 7ft. above the ordinary high water mark, carried away another jetty, also the ketch Courier, 30 tons, which was brought back within a few feet of her old berth by the nest rush at live minutes past 1 p.m. After this the water continued to rise and fall at. intervals of about three-quarters of an hour, and each wave got smaller as the tide retired. OTAGO. Dr/NEDiN, Saturday, August 15. There has been a terrific agitation of the waters at he Bluff. The water rose and fell eight or nine times, and the buoys were washed far up the harbor. At Port Chalmers two ships at the anchorage had heir heads completely turned round twice. The water rose eighteen inches in the hour. At Taieri the tidal wave entered the river and destroyed the punts. The wave was also felt at Oaraaru. Monday, August 17. At Otago heads on Saturday a tidal ware rose five feet, and swept on to the shore. The A'essels anchored there were swung round. Within two minutes the sea fell, and the tide ebbed seventeen inches. At Oamaru there was a tremendous surf. The highest wave rose cloven feet, dashed upon the shore and came over the landing place. The wave receded rapidly, and the surf boat was stranded as the sea went back. At Taieri, there was a great rise and fall of the tde, the punt being washed away. A slight shock of earthquake has been felt to-day in Dunedin. It is reported that the shock wus more severely felt at Blueskin. HAKE'S BAY. Napieb, Monday, August 17. Saturday's tide ebbed and flowed every hour ; the rise was three to six feet; there is much speculation is to the cause of it. CHATHAM ISLANDS. A telegram from Dunedin, dated August 28th, states that the schooner Rifleman had arrived from the Chatham Islands, bringing news that the Islands had been visited by three tidal waves, causing 1033 of life and property. At Tapunga, on the north side of the island, the greatest force was felt. The ground was completely covered with sand and seaweed, and the sea went four miles inland. A large quantity of Government stores were destroyed. The settlement of Waitangi sustained great loss, and some houses were carried to sea. We [Wellington Independent) haTe been favored with the following particulars of the Earthquake Phenomena experienced on August 17th, throughout 1 New Zealand: — Napier, 9.55 a.m.—Two slight shocks; direction N. to S. .. . I Waipukurau, 9.55 a.m.—Very strong shock. j Castle Point, 9.56 a.m.—Very strong shock, from S. to N. Greytown. 9.55. —Severe shock. Featherston, 9.ss.—Severe shock. White's Bay, 9.55. —Severe shock. White's Bay, 9.5(5^-. —A second shock. Blenheim, 9.ss.—Severe shock. Kaiapoi, 9.57. —Severe shock, from N. to S. Christchurch, 9.5GJ-.—Strong shock, from E. to W. Lyttelton, 9.57. —Strong shock, N. to S., with oesillation of tide. Hokitika, 9.58. —Violent shock; also felt at Greymouth. Port Chalmers, 9.55.—N0 shock, but oesillation of tide still going on. Nelson, 9.57. —Two smart shocks, so severe, it was deemed prudent by the operator to leave the office, got into the road 'and felt five or six distinct waves from E. to W. . I

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EARTHQUAKES AND TIDAL WAVES IN NEW ZEALAND., Colonist, Volume XI, Issue 1142, 4 September 1868

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EARTHQUAKES AND TIDAL WAVES IN NEW ZEALAND. Colonist, Volume XI, Issue 1142, 4 September 1868

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