Friday, 21 June 2013

Magnitude 8 earthquake predicted in New Zealand.

I came across this article and excellent graphics on stuff.co.nz published last year. After the two major unexpected earthquakes in Christchurch in the past few years, this serves as a reminder we are sitting on the 'Ring of Fire' in New Zealand. Ramp up your preparedness a little more.





June 28, 2012 – NEW ZEALAND – GNS Science and University of Nevada-Renoscientists have found that the southern part of the 800 kilometre-long fault which runs along the western edge of the Southern Alps from Marlborough to Milford Sound causes quakes of around magnitude 8 every 330 years on average. Dating leaves and seeds from a river terrace at Hokuri Creek near Lake McKerrow in far northwestern Southland, just north of Milford Sound, revealed 24 Alpine Fault quakes between 6000BC and the present. Other research has found the most recent was in 1717, meaning the next may be only 30 or 40 years away, based on averages. Professor Richard Norris, from the geology department at Otago University, said the Alpine Fault had the highest level of probability for rupture of any fault in New Zealand. “Westland obviously is at high risk, with widespread damage likely and roads, bridges and other transport links likely to be badly affected (as well as the tourist trade),” he said. The fault crossed the main West Coast road in many places, and with an estimated 8m displacement would completely destroy it. “Intensities further east in places like Queenstown, Te Anau, Wanaka and Mt Cook will be high enough to cause landslips and do damage,” Norris said. “Further east in the major cities of Christchurch and Dunedin, the intensities will be lower but the duration of shaking could still be sufficient to damage poorly constructed buildings…and possibly cause some liquefaction.” Places such as Nelson, Wellington and Invercargill could also expect to feel some shaking. Project leader Kelvin Berryman of GNS Science said “a major earthquake in the near future would not be a surprise. Equally it could be up to 100 years away. The bottom line is, if not in our lifetimes then increasingly likely in our children’s or our grandchildren’s.” The study’s findings, published today in the journal Science, were new and internationally significant, Berryman said. Auckland University biostatics professor Thomas Lumley said the intervals between quakes on the Alpine Fault tended to be quite close to the average interval, with relatively little spread. –Stuff

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