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Bubbles have begun pluming out of the sea floor near where the epicenter of the earthquake that hit New Zealand earlier this month.
A Canterbury University lecturer has shed some light on the bubbles found off the Kaikoura Peninsula.

The phenomena was found in Whalers Bay by Matt Foy and Connor Stapley and it is believed they have been caused by the magnitude 7.8 quake.

Dr Matthew Hughes says the bubbles are likely dissolved gases in the sea floor which have become exposed by new cracks in the rock, and are now venting to the surface.

He says its very much like any other geologically active part of New Zealand.

The bubbles are a combination of several different gases, but the strong smell likely comes from hydrogen sulfide.


"What the earthquake has done, is it's opened up a few new fissures and fractures in those rocks and liberated the water and the gas to the sea bed," Dr Hughes said.

"Just like cracking the top of a fizzy drink can, when you release the pressure, the CO2 in the can is then released, comes out of solution and causes bubbles - and that is what we're seeing."