Hydrogeological Investigation of Earthquake Related Springs in the Hillsborough Valley, Christchurch, New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This thesis is concerned with springs that appeared in the Hillsborough, Christchurch during the 2010-2011 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence, and which have continued to discharge groundwater to the surface to the present time. Investigations have evolved, measurements of discharge at selected sites, limited chemical data on anions and isotope analysis. The springs are associated with earthquake generated fissures (extensional) and compression zones, mostly in loess-colluvium soils of the valley floor and lower slopes. Extensive peat swamps are present in the Hillsborough valley, with a groundwater table at ~1m below ground. The first appearance of the ‘new’ springs took place following the Mw 7.1 Darfield Earthquake on 4 September 2010, and discharges increased both in volume and extent of the Christchurch Mw 6.3 Earthquake of 22 February 2011. Five monitored sites show flow rates in the range of 4.2-14.4L/min, which have remained effectively constant for the duration of the study (2014-2015). Water chemistry analysis shows that the groundwater discharges are sourced primarily from volcanic bedrocks which underlies the valley at depths ≤50m below ground level. Isotope values confirm similarities with bedrock-sourced groundwater, and the short term (hours-days) influence of extreme rainfall events. Cyclone Lusi (2013-2014) affects were monitored and showed recovery of the bedrock derived water signature within 72 hours. Close to the mouth of the valley sediments interfinger with Waimakiriri River derived alluvium bearing a distinct and different isotope signature. Some mixing is evident at certain locations, but it is not clear if there is any influence from the Huntsbury reservoir which failed in the Port Hills Earthquake (22 February 2011) and stored groundwater from the Christchurch artesian aquifer system (Riccarton Gravel).