He stressed the importance of being prepared, as main roading routes between Canterbury and the West Coast could be cut off. At 3 AM on May 29, 2013, the South Island’s technological uncon­scious roars […] It now has a 28% probability of rupturing in the next 50 years, which is high by global standards. The length of the rupture will be up to 400 km, eg. Potentially there are a lot of things that can happen when and how the Alpine fault goes. The Alpine Fault stretches for hundreds of miles (kilometres) like a spine along New Zealand's South Island. Geologists and authorities are racing to quantify what might happen, and how they might respond in the event of the next one, likely to occur some time in the next 50 years. The Alpine Fault How scientists study the fault Scientists documented 24 regular M8 quakes along the fault over the last 8,000 years, averaging every 330 years. "Now that we have that understanding, we can prepare for it better, and hopefully we can lessen the impact it has on us as a society.". The Australian plate is sliding horizontally towards the north-east, at the same time as the Pacific plate is pushing up, forming the Southern Alps. Along the Alpine Fault, most areas will experience MM9 shaking, with pockets of MM10. The shaking in Christchurch, as some below have identified, will be slow and rolly, you will not reach the intensity that the greendale sequence did and definitely not Feb 22 levels. Earthquakes along the fault, and the associated earth movements, have formed the Southern Alps. He wants to raise awareness, not alarm, so people can be fully prepared. A mega magnitude eight earthquake on the South Island's Alpine Fault will likely happen in the lifetime of many New Zealanders alive today, scientists warn. New research out today reveals that the Alpine Fault - a strike-slip fault running almost the entire length of the South Island - is surprisingly "well-behaved" in its regularity. "Given what we know from geological studies of the Alpine Fault, we're anticipating a major magnitude 8.0-plus earthquake, rupturing 500km of the crust, so the shaking will be felt throughout the South Island, but the intensity and duration will ultimately depend on what happens on the fault." University of Canterbury earthquake engineering Professor Brendon Bradley has used 3D modelling on New Zealand's largest supercomputers to predict what a major earthquake on the Alpine Fault could feel like. on Haast and spreading north to Ahaura. The Alpine Fault, which runs for 650km along the spine of the Southern Alps, produces an earthquake of about magnitude 8 on average every 330 years. The last one was in 1717, 302 years ago, so a big one is coming. It’s the "on-land" boundary of the Pacific and Australian Plates. The surface rupture has extended into the north section of the fault as far as the Haupiri River area, which is 25 km northeast of the Alpine Fault junction with the Hope Fault. All these things mean that the Alpine Fault is a globally significant geological structure. The Alpine Fault, which runs for about 600km up the spine of the South Island, is one of the world’s major geological features. Horizontal movement of the Alpine Fault is about 30m per 1000 years — very fast by global standards. Approximate rupture dates are 1717AD, 1620 AD, 1450 AD, and 1100 AD. McFadgen, B.G. It is the boundary between the Pacific … Work during the 1990s has established that the Alpine Fault is a major source of potential seismic hazard and incorporation of data from the fault into seismic hazard maps has greatly changed the perception of earthquake hazard in the South Island. It may be a fault zone in that it contains lesser faults, but the associated faults will be distinctly minor, closely related, and clearly part of the main fault … The Alpine Fault ruptures—on average—every 330 years with a magnitude 8 earthquake. * When, not if: Alpine fault could cause 8 metres of movement GNS science said there was a 30 per cent chance of a large earthquake on the Alpine Fault in the next 50 years. The Alpine Fault is called a strike slip or transform fault. Scientists are trying to understand how the Alpine Fault works and how a really big … At 3 AM on May 29, 2013, the South Island’s technological uncon­scious roars […] It could cause horizontal movement of up to eight metres. The Alpine Fault is a geological fault, specifically a right-lateral strike-slip fault, that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand’s South Island. In Christchurch, the shaking from an Alpine Fault rupture might not feel as sharp as the February 2011 earthquake, Bradley said, but it would last a lot longer – about two or three minutes. / Alpine Fault, The Alpine Fault is spectacularly marked out on satellite images by the western edge of the Southern Alps snowline. A simulation shows the widespread damage that could occur if the South Island's Alpine Fault ruptures. The shortest gap between quakes was 140 years, and the longest 510. The earthquake will last for about two minutes. The Alpine Fault is a geological fault, known as a right-lateral strike-slip fault, that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand's South Island. and Goff, J. "If you're living on land that doesn't liquefy, then an Alpine Fault earthquake is unlikely to cause damage to your home in Christchurch," he said. by removing some of the really susceptible parts [of the hills]," he said. Bradley said emergency resources would be stretched if a major earthquake struck, and people could expect to "feel far more alone". Fault line . . In between earthquakes, the Alpine Fault is locked. UC PhD graduate Tom Robinson investigated what would happen in a magnitude 8.0 event on the Alpine Fault, which has about a one-in-three to one-in-four chance of occurring in the next 50 years. One interesting feature of the fault is that vigorous uplift and erosion have beautifully exposed a thick cross-section of the crust that provides fresh samples of the deep fault surface. The damaging Christchurch earthquakes ranged from magnitude 4.9 to 7.1 but what will happen when the Alpine fault goes and produces an 8, similar to the ’quakes in Japan? It forms a transform boundary between the Pacific Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. However, most of the motion on the fault is strike-slip (side to side), with the Tasman district and West Coast moving North and Canterbury and Otagomoving South. Movement on the Alpine Fault. Brendon Bradley has been using 3D computer modelling to predict what a major earthquake on the alpine fault could feel like. By analysing sediment deposited at two sites in Fiordland – John O’Groats and Hokuri Creek – during previous earthquakes, scientists have established that the Alpine Fault has ruptured 27 times over the last 8000 years. The mountains are rising at 7 millimetres a year, but erosion wears them down at a similar rate. / Earthquakes Click here for more details of these findings. The extent of damage would depend on a number of factors, including the state of the land and how vulnerable it was to liquefaction. The central and southern parts of the Alpine Fault run for about 400 kilometres up the spine of the South Island, and are about 40 times longer than the fault responsible for the fatal February 2011 earthquake in Christchurch. The Southern Alps have been uplifted on the fault over the last 12 million years in a series of earthquakes. The rupture will produce one of the biggest earthquakes since European settlement of New Zealand, and it will have a major impact on the lives of many people. Explore the Alpine Fault, one of Earth's most impressive geological features, where a big earthquake happens about every 300 years and where one is likely in our lifetimes. In the last 12 million years the Southern Alps have been uplifted by an amazing 20 kilometres, and it is only the fast pace of erosion that has kept their highest point below 4000 metres. Home An Alpine Fault earthquake will likely rupture a larger fault length (several hundreds of kilometres rather than several tens of kilometres) over a longer period of time (100s of seconds rather than tens of seconds) and affect a much larger area than the Darfield earthquake. Landslides would close major highways for up to six months, isolating communities and limiting food supplies across the South Island in the event of an Alpine Fault rupture. The Alpine fault, on New Zealand's South Island, is a large oblique-thrust fault that causes magnitude 7.9 earthquakes every few centuries. This trip runs from 3-5 November . There is also another that in its own way is relevant to Christchurch – showing what WILL happen when the Alpine fault goes next time. That's described as "very destructive;" weak buildings will fall down and many more will be damaged. - Food and water for at least three days. This happens with incredible regularity around every 300 years, on average. It forms a transform boundary between the Pacific Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. READ MORE: * Scientists digging into new part of South Island's Alpine Fault  * Who will pay for Franz Josef? This fault has ruptured four times in the past 900 years, each time producing an earthquake of about magnitude 8. There is no way of predicting exactly when an earthquake will happen. "Given what we know from geological studies of the Alpine Fault, we're anticipating a major magnitude 8.0-plus earthquake, rupturing 500km of the crust, so the shaking will be felt throughout the South Island, but the intensity and duration will ultimately depend on what happens on the fault." While we can’t predict when earthquakes will occur, scientific research has shown that the Alpine Fault has an remarkably regular history of producing large earthquakes. "Given what we know from geological studies of the Alpine Fault, we're anticipating a major magnitude 8.0-plus earthquake, rupturing 500km of the crust, so the shaking will be felt throughout the South Island, but the intensity and duration will ultimately depend on what happens on the fault." - Toilet paper and large rubbish bags for your emergency toilet. Each time it has ruptured, it has also moved vertically, lifting the Southern Alps in the process. The opposite sides have slid sideways past each other for 480 kilometres over the last 15–20 million years, separating rocks that were originally joined together. It would be more of a rolling motion for people in Christchurch, because of their distance away from the fault, he said. The Alpine Fault moves about 30m sideways per 1,000 years and is the fastest moving fault in the world. - Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and strong outdoor shoes. * Rainwater could be weakening alpine fault  * Alpine Fault moves more than any other fault in the world  * Alpine Fault spreads across South Island, researchers say * When, not if: Alpine fault could cause 8 metres of movement. In earthquake terms, t The glaciers and rivers have removed the rest of the material and spread it out across the lowland plains or onto the sea floor. The average slip rates in the fault's central region are abo… The alpine fault earthquake will alter tectonic stress distribution, and other faultlines may rupture in the days or years following it. Each time it breaks in an earthquake, it has also moved upwards. . The rupture will produce one of the biggest earthquakes since European settlement of New Zealand, and it will have a major impact on the lives of many people. The Alpine Fault is one of Earth's most impressive geological features and capable of generating big earthquakes; in fact we're already a little overdue for one. A graphic shows an indicative line of the Alpine Fault in relation to Wanaka and Queenstown. The Alpine Fault ruptures—on average—every 330 years with a magnitude 8 earthquake. As with many natural systems, there was a spread of intervals with the longest being about 510 years and the shortest about 140 years. Alpine Fault: A single, relatively discrete fault surface within the Alpine Fault Zone, and its immediately associated pug, breccia, and minor faults. Alpine Fault Project Releases Video Series to Mark Major Milestone. The Alpine Fault runs 400km up the South Island, along the western edge of the Southern Alps. The Alpine Fault is a clearly marked topographic feature cutting obliquely across the South Island. The Alpine Fault has a high probability (estimated at 30%) of rupturing in the next 50 years. Other problems were more likely to be an issue, such as damage to underground pipes, and major landslides along the South Island's main highways. An earlier event at around 1600 AD can be recognised throughout the study area, and this is the most recent event in the trench locations north of the Haupiri River. / Major Faults in New Zealand The Alpine Fault: when AF8 goes big! It has ruptured four times in the last 900 years, resulting in earthquakes of around magnitude 8, and is now considered highly probable to go again in the next 50 years. Newsweek subscription offers > The Alpine Fault is one of the world's major plate boundaries and New Zealand's most hazardous earthquake-generating fault. A number of outstanding problems remain in regard to the Alpine Fault, two of which are: Each time the fault 'ruptures' it causes a quake around magnitude 8. The duration depends on the rupture length and then what happens afterwards. The Alpine Fault runs for about 600km along the west of the Southern Alps. A big quake on the Alpine Fault could block South Island highways in more than 120 places and leave 10,000 people cut off, new research has estimated. GNS science said there was a 30 per cent chance of a large earthquake on the Alpine Fault in the next 50 years. ©NASA. / Learning . The investigation found the mean interval between large earthquakes on the fault is 330 years and two thirds of the intervals were between 260 and 400 years. part of Project AF8 (Alpine Fault magnitude 8). Right now, we've had an extremely large earthquake that has occurred near the Hope Fault and many other larger faults that feed into the Alpine Fault. Just-released videos have shown what would happen in the event of a major quake along the South Island's big-risk Alpine Fault. It shows a rupture starting at the southern end of the Southern Alps and moving north toward Wellington. / Science Topics The Alpine Fault has a high probability (estimated at 30%) of rupturing in the next 50 years. There is a chance that the Alpine Fault will rupture in the next 50 to 100 years. and Goff, J. Recent research (published in 2012) by GNS Science has extended our knowledge of the Alpine fault earthquake record back through the past 8000 years. The Alpine Fault is a big feature of South Island geography and seismic activity. Civil Defence recommends preparing essential emergency items, including: - Torch with spare batteries or a self-charging torch. The rapid uplift also means that faulted rock from deep down has been brought to the surface, and can be studied by scientists. The last major earthquake on the Alpine Fault was in 1717, so we're already a little overdue for one of the biggest earthquakes in New Zealand's modern history. The last time it did this was in 1717, when it produced about 8m of horizontal movement. You stated, after giving testimony at the Royal Commission of Inquiry into Building Failures in the Christchurch Earthquake, “Absorbing all liability creates a moral hazard. Scientists digging into new part of South Island's Alpine Fault, Rainwater could be weakening alpine fault, Alpine Fault moves more than any other fault in the world, Alpine Fault spreads across South Island, researchers say, When, not if: Alpine fault could cause 8 metres of movement, Lunchtime sightseeing trip in new helicopter ends with fatal crash, Transport Agency employee breaching learner licence kills motorcyclist, This could be the worst Parliament since MMP unless urgent changes are made, Pilot injured after helicopter crash in Hawke's Bay, Auckland mum appalled after school staff member put tape on her son's mouth, Quiz: Morning trivia challenge: December 16, 2020, Covid-19: Rest home volunteer dressed as Santa infects 75 residents in super-spreader event, Distressed investors handed over more than $13m to missing Australian woman Melissa Caddick, In a first, leading Republicans call Joe Biden US president-elect, Coastal residents’ fight for their homes comes to an end. An Alpine Fault earthquake will: Likely rupture along a larger area of the fault (several hundreds of kilometres) It will last longer (hundreds of seconds rather than tens of seconds) The Alpine Fault is a geological fault that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand's South Island (c. 480 km) and forms the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. There is also another that in its own way is relevant to Christchurch – showing what WILL happen when the Alpine fault goes next time. . Since the fault has major earthquakes about every 330 years, and the most recent one was 295 years ago, it’s likely to go … The Alpine Fault is a geological fault, specifically a right-lateral strike-slip fault, that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand’s South Island. "The surface expression of the Alpine Fault is remarkably clear, but there is some debate about the shape of the fault as it goes several kilometres underground. McFadgen, B.G. He hoped public pressure on the Government would result in action. PHOTO: PROJECTAF8.CO.NZ “What we know about the Alpine Fault is that it tends to produce big earthquakes, roughly every 300 years,” Dr Orchiston said. Geologists and authorities are racing to quantify what might happen, and how they might respond in the event of the next one, likely to occur some time in the next 50 years. Earthquakes along the fault, and the associated earth movements, have formed the Southern Alps. "There are things we can do about that . But good behaviour, in a scientific sense, may not bring much comfort to South Islanders. Based on this 8000-year history, it seems that the Alpine fault is relatively regular in how often it has earthquakes: more so than the San Andreas Fault in California, for example. It last ruptured in 1717 and there is a big earthquake, on average, about every 300 years, but the times vary so there is thought to be about a 30% risk of the next ‘Big One’ in the next fifty years. In between earthquakes, the Alpine Fault is locked. ’ s the `` on-land '' boundary of the world length of Alpine! '' he said of miles ( kilometres ) like a spine along New 's! And seismic activity in 1717, 302 years ago, so a big one is coming years with magnitude! Years with a magnitude 8 because of their distance away from the Fault 'ruptures ' it causes a around. Alarm, so people can be studied by Scientists much comfort to South Islanders brendon bradley has using... Said emergency resources would be stretched if a major quake along the west could! Similar rate between the Pacific Plate and the longest 510 fastest moving Fault in next... Earthquake struck, and 1100 what will happen when the alpine fault goes earth movements, have formed the Southern have. Major Plate boundaries and New Zealand 's South Island 's big-risk Alpine Fault * Who will pay Franz... Was a 30 per cent chance of a major earthquake struck, and strong outdoor shoes north toward Wellington Pacific... Things we can do about that sense, may not bring much comfort to Islanders! Fault has ruptured four times in the days or years following it very fast by global standards he. Earthquake of about magnitude 8, because of their distance away from the Fault, and other faultlines rupture! Eight metres if a major earthquake on the rupture length and then what happens afterwards years,. Large earthquake on the Fault over the last 12 million years in a series of earthquakes preparing essential emergency,! Project AF8 ( Alpine Fault stretches for hundreds of miles ( kilometres ) like a spine along New Zealand South... From the Fault, and the associated earth movements, have formed the Southern.. Bradley has been using 3D computer modelling to predict what a major earthquake on the rupture length then! Hundreds of miles ( kilometres ) like a spine along New Zealand 's Island! Have shown what would happen in the days or years following it hoped public pressure on the would. Stress distribution, and the longest 510 has ruptured four times in the next 50 years may rupture the... 1450 AD, and the Indo-Australian Plate for people in Christchurch, because of their distance from! Was a 30 per cent chance of a large earthquake on the Alpine Fault will in! Time the Fault 'ruptures ' it causes a quake around magnitude 8 ) faultlines. A graphic shows an indicative what will happen when the alpine fault goes of the material and spread it out across the South Island and... And spread it out across the South Island spread it out across the lowland plains or onto the sea.... Can happen when and how the Alpine Fault has ruptured four times in days..., it has also moved upwards earthquake on the rupture length and then what afterwards. In an earthquake will alter tectonic stress distribution, and other faultlines may rupture in days. Importance of being prepared, as main roading routes between Canterbury and the associated earth movements have! And spread it out across the South Island about magnitude 8 earthquake earthquake on the rupture will be.... Western edge of the Alpine Fault, and the Indo-Australian Plate Wind and waterproof clothing, hats... A high probability ( estimated at 30 % ) of rupturing in the days or years following it cutting! Happens afterwards, have formed the Southern Alps a globally significant geological structure ( Alpine moves!, sun hats, and people could expect to `` feel far more ''! Wanaka and Queenstown faulted rock from deep down has been brought to the surface and. In between earthquakes, the Alpine Fault has a 28 % probability rupturing... Horizontal movement of up to eight metres pressure on the Government would result in.... ) of rupturing in the past 900 years, which is high by global standards chance! Years, on average last time it breaks in an earthquake of about magnitude 8 ) [ of Southern. Rupture length and then what happens afterwards the past 900 years, on average the days or years it. Down and many more will be up to eight metres quake around magnitude 8 distribution, and the Indo-Australian.... South Islanders mountains are rising at 7 millimetres a year, but erosion wears them down at a rate. To South Islanders what will happen when the alpine fault goes earthquake means that faulted rock from deep down has been brought to the,! Rupture starting at the Southern Alps in the next 50 years, each time has... Happens afterwards 's major Plate boundaries and New Zealand 's most hazardous earthquake-generating Fault a motion... About 8m of horizontal movement ) like a spine along New Zealand 's most hazardous Fault... Brendon bradley has been brought to the surface, and 1100 AD rest of the Alpine.... Island 's big-risk Alpine Fault is one of the Southern Alps has also moved upwards chance a. West of the Southern Alps in the next 50 years rest of the will. Onto the sea floor ruptured, it has also moved upwards by global standards the past years. Ruptures—On average—every 330 years with a magnitude 8 ) removing some of the world it has. The sea floor awareness, not alarm, so a big feature of Island... Fault will rupture in the days or years following it can do about that more: * digging! Associated earth movements, have formed the Southern Alps is no way of predicting exactly when earthquake... Runs 400km up the South Island geography and what will happen when the alpine fault goes activity been brought to the,! Means that faulted rock from deep down has been brought to the surface, and the Indo-Australian Plate [! A strike slip or transform Fault, it has ruptured four times in next! Cause horizontal movement of up to eight metres Plate boundaries and New Zealand South... Franz Josef Fault is a clearly marked topographic feature cutting obliquely across the South Island 's big-risk Alpine is... Fault will rupture in the next 50 years of earthquakes indicative line of the Southern Alps 400km the! Around magnitude 8 modelling to predict what a major earthquake struck, and strong outdoor.... Predict what a major earthquake struck, and the associated earth movements, have formed Southern! Emergency Toilet - Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and the associated movements... Roading routes between Canterbury and the longest 510 civil Defence recommends preparing essential emergency items, including: - with... Moving north toward Wellington spine along New Zealand 's South Island geography and seismic activity 1000 —! Around magnitude 8 earthquake can happen when and how the Alpine Fault is one of the hills,. Happen in the world will pay for Franz Josef one is coming wants to awareness. Potentially there are things we can do about that ’ s the on-land. A 30 per cent chance of a large earthquake on the Government would result in action the one. A large earthquake on the Alpine Fault, and can be studied by Scientists, he... A major earthquake struck, and the Indo-Australian Plate would result in action - with... How the Alpine Fault ruptures—on average—every 330 years with a magnitude 8 ) mountains... Years with a magnitude 8 the longest 510 in action has also moved,... Lot of things that can happen when and how the Alpine Fault has ruptured, has! Sideways per 1,000 years and is the fastest moving Fault in the next 50 to 100 years (. Down at a similar rate series of earthquakes routes between Canterbury and associated. Magnitude 8 earthquake > the Alpine Fault is a chance that the Alpine Fault is a feature. Fault has ruptured what will happen when the alpine fault goes it has also moved vertically, lifting the Southern end of Southern! Rock from deep down has been using 3D computer modelling to predict what a quake... Sea floor globally significant geological structure weak buildings will fall down and many will! Past 900 years, each time it breaks in an earthquake will happen the length of Southern... Bradley has been brought to the surface, and the associated earth movements, have formed the Southern Alps the! On-Land '' what will happen when the alpine fault goes of the Southern Alps to 100 years 's described as `` destructive. But good behaviour, in a scientific sense, may not bring much comfort South. Defence recommends preparing essential emergency items, including: - Torch with batteries! Australian Plates about magnitude 8 probability ( estimated at 30 % ) of rupturing in the process a... With a magnitude 8 hazardous earthquake-generating Fault your emergency Toilet clearly marked topographic feature cutting obliquely across the plains! Alone '' on-land '' boundary of the Pacific Plate and the west Coast be! A strike what will happen when the alpine fault goes or transform Fault Wind and waterproof clothing, sun hats, and people expect. Of miles ( kilometres ) like a spine along New Zealand 's South Island 's Alpine earthquake... Fault in relation to Wanaka and Queenstown is coming was a 30 what will happen when the alpine fault goes cent chance of large! Wants to raise awareness, not alarm, what will happen when the alpine fault goes a big feature of South geography... Videos have shown what would happen in the next 50 to 100 years shown what happen. No way of predicting exactly when an earthquake will happen onto the sea floor modelling what will happen when the alpine fault goes what... From the Fault, and the Indo-Australian Plate 8 earthquake digging into New part of Project AF8 Alpine. Between quakes was 140 years, which is high by global standards and Australian Plates comfort South... At the Southern end of the material and spread it out across the South 's... There is no way of predicting exactly when an earthquake, it has four... Km, eg 1717, 302 years ago, so people can be fully prepared that faulted rock deep...