Active Fault

What’s on our Plates?

Researching tsunami deposits on the East Coast

New Zealand has thousands of active faults each of which will produce an earthquake of some magnitude when it ruptures. However the two giants are the Alpine Fault and the Hikurangi Subduction Fault. They each form a segment of the plate boundary – the Alpine Fault can be traced across land, the length of the South …

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Where to explore the Wellington Fault

Wellington Fault at Thorndon

The Wellington Fault is one of several large active faults in the lower North Island of New Zealand. From the Tararua Mountains and Kaitoke it runs the length of the Hutt Valley, the edge of Wellington Harbour, through Tinakori in the City and across the hills to Cook Strait. Earthquakes occur on the Wellington Fault …

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The Kekerengu Fault

Photo Tim Little @ VUW Whilst there were many faults that ruptured during the recent M7.8 Kaikoura Earthquake, the Kekerengu Fault is perhaps the most awe inspiring in terms of its effect on the landscape and infrastructure. As it ripped through the countryside, it displaced the land to either side by an astonishing 8 to …

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Digging into the Alpine Fault

The Alpine Fault has been the focus of a lot of research over recent years, including the Deep Fault Drilling Project, Alpine Lake Sediment Research and the Earthquake Records at Hokuri Creek amongst them. These are building a much clearer picture of the history of previous fault ruptures, and allowing better estimates of the size …

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Phase 2 Alpine Fault Drilling

Rupert Sutherland with DFDP-2 flags Whilst researchers continue to pull together the history of past Alpine Fault earthquakes, the Deep Fault Drilling Programme is well underway in Whataroa on the West Coast of the South Island. For an introduction to this project have a look at my blog and video here, or check out the …

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Jumping Faults

The Alpine Fault is divided into several segments based on changes in its tectonic structure and earthquake history along the plate boundary. The northern end of the Alpine Fault is much less straightforward in comparison to the southern and central sections. This is in the area where other faults of the Marlborough Fault System branch …

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A Ticker Tape Record of Alpine Fault Earthquakes

The famous NASA image of New Zealand’s South Island clearly shows the trace of the Alpine Fault along the straight western edge of the Southern Alps. This oblique Google Earth view of the West Coast shows the relative uplift on the eastern side of the fault that has created the Southern Alps. The Hokuri Creek …

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Imaging the Crust beneath Wellington

Having had a close up look to the surface trace of the Wairarapa Fault (see recent post here), I thought it would be interesting to find out the latest about what such a major geological structure looks like below the earth’s surface. Stuart Henrys and colleagues at Victoria University, the University of Tokyo, Japan, and …

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Wairarapa Fault – the Biggest Rupture on Earth

The Wairarapa Fault is one of New Zealand’s large active faults running along the eastern edge of the Rimutaka range from Palliser Bay north into the Wairarapa. It was responsible for the massive magnitude 8.2 earthquake that violently shook the lower North Island in 1855 in New Zealand’s largest historically recorded ‘quake. This Google Earth …

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