Papatea Fault Scarp and Uplifted Reef

Accessibility: EASY
Papatea Fault at Waipapa Bay, J.Thomson / GNS Science
This fault scarp appeared as a result of the 14th November 2016 Kaikoura Earthquake and is associated with uplift of the shore platform along the coast of Waipapa Bay. This fault is called the western strand of the Papatea Fault. The main strand of the Papatea Fault occurs to the east of this
Papatea Fault at Waipapa Bay, J.Thomson / GNS Science
This fault scarp on the western strand of the Papatea Fault was created during the M7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake on 14 November 2016. The eastern strand crosses the beach about 1km north of this location. The whole area was uplifted, but the downthrown side of the fault less so than the upthrown side which raised the coastal reef by atleast 6 metres between the two strands of the fault. The scarp itself is about 1.5 to 2 metres high.
Papatea Fault at Waipapa Bay, J.Thomson / GNS Science
It is interesting to look at the face of the fault and observe the ways that it is being eroded with time. The fault also offset the gravel beach ridge to the north, and uplifted the road and railway line. The reef is also interesting to explore for marine life that was left high and dry after the water cascaded away during the sudden uplift. There is great potential for a surveying exercise to calculate the amount of uplift of the reef rocks.

Follow State Highway 1 South from Kekerengu to the south end of Waipapa Bay.

Be aware of loose boulders underfoot.

Google Directions

Click here for Google driving directions

Accessibility: EASY

Park at a convenient spot, possible some distance south of the location. The scarp is visible about 50 to 100 metres away from the road. it is easy scrambling to the fault and reef.

Active Fault Geohazard
Geological Age
Recent! This feature can be precisely dated at just after midnight on 14th November 2016
Zealandia Evolution Sequence
Pākihi Supergoup: 5 million years ago – present
There is a video of Kelvin Berryman explaining the fault shortly after the earthquake at: (1m 31s) This video shows the changes to the area two years after the earthquake: (2m 19s)