The Stone Jug Fault: facilitating sinistral displacement transfer during the Mw7.8 Kaikōura earthquake
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The Stone Jug Fault (SJF) ruptured during the November 14th, 2016 (at 12:02 am), Mw 7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake which initiated ~40 km west-southwest of the study area, at a depth of approximately 15 km. Preliminary post-earthquake mapping indicated that the SJF connects the Conway-Charwell and Hundalee faults, which form continuous surface rupture, however, detailed study of the SJF had not been undertaken prior to this thesis due to its remote location and mountainous topography. The SJF is 19 km long, has an average strike of ~160° and generally carries approximately equal components of sinistral and reverse displacement. The primary fault trace is sigmoidal in shape with the northern and southern tips rotating in strike from NNW to NW, as the SJF approaches the Hope and Hundalee faults. It comprises several steps and bends and is associated with many (N=48) secondary faults, which are commonly near irregularities in the main fault geometry and in a distributed fault zone at the southern tip. The SJF is generally parallel to Torlesse basement bedding where it may utilise pre-existing zones of weakness. Horizontal, vertical and net displacements range up to 1.4 m, with displacement profiles along the primary trace showing two main maxima separated by a minima towards the middle and ends of the fault. Average net displacement along the primary trace is ~0.4m, with local changes in relative values of horizontal and vertical displacement at least partly controlled by fault strike. Two trenches excavated across the northern segment of the fault revealed displacement of mainly Holocene stratigraphy dated using radiocarbon (N=2) and OSL (N=4) samples. Five surface-rupturing paleoearthquakes displaying vertical displacements of <1 m occurred at: 11,000±1000, 7500±1000, 6500±1000, 3500±100 and 3 (2016 Kaikōura) years BP. These events produce an average slip rate since ~11 ka of 0.2-0.4 mm/yr and recurrence intervals of up to 5500 years with an average recurrence interval of 2750 yrs. Comparison of these results with unpublished trench data suggests that synchronous rupture of the Hundalee, Stone Jug, Conway-Charwell, and Humps faults at ~3500 yrs BP cannot be discounted and it is possible that multi-fault ruptures in north Canterbury are more common than previously thought.