Tsunamis 'just as capable of happening in lakes'
People living near lakes have been told they could face serious risks from tsunamis.
Research completed for NIWA has indicated tsunamis are not only a danger to coastal communities.
Tsunamis are triggered by earthquakes and can generate massive waves which sweep through the ocean at high speed before crashing onshore, often with a devastating impact.
The research was led by NIWA marine geologist Dr Joshu Mountjoy.
His team based its work on mapping the floor of Lake Tekapo and found signs of past underwater landslips that indicated a tsunami up to five metres high could have swept through the lake at some point in the past.
Dr Mountjoy said he hoped to extend the research to potential earthquake hazards in other places, such as lakes Wakatipu, Taupō and Wanaka.
Movement of the Alpine fault is thought likely to be the trigger for any tsunami in the South Island lakes because its seismic potential is huge.