These incredible photographs show how New Zealand’s 7.8 magnitude earthquake lifted the seabed two metres – and exploded through the sand.
Dramatic aerial pictures reveal the scale of the devastation caused on the coastline north of Kaikoura, on the country’s South Island.
Scientists say the seabed lifted an estimated two metres on the foreshore and admit they have never seen anything like it.
It comes as rain and strong winds battered central New Zealand on Thursday, threatening further damage – just days after the quake killed two people and sparked with huge landslides.
More than 1,000 tourists and residents have since been evacuated from the small seaside town by a fleet of helicopters and a naval vessel since the 7.8 magnitude quake struck early on Monday.
The areas which appear purple in colour show how the sea bed has been forced up to the surface.
The photos, shared and liked more than 1,000 times on Twitter, also show the direct impact to wildlife following the earthquake with sea creatures stranded out of the water.
New Zealand woman Anna Redmond uploaded photos to her Facebook account showing the uplifted coast up close.
Her photos show abalone, or paua, covered seabed jutting out metres above the ground.
While incredible, the photos capture the devastating death of sea-life, most of which cannot survive above water.
While it is not the first time the island has been hit by an earthquake, experts claim it is the first time tremors have caused the New Zealand seabed to lift.
Marine Geologist Dr Joshu Mountjoy said he had ‘never seen it before during an earthquake’.
‘(It’s a) very complex fault rupture,’ Dr Mountjoy told Stuff.
He said some faults went side-to-side and others vertically and the after-effects from the most recent earthquake look as if they moved vertically and pushed land upwards.
‘It will take a while before this becomes normal again,’ he said.
The experts were not alone in their shock with many going online to express their disbelief.
SOURCE: KATE DARVALL