Impacts of surface fault rupture on residential structures during the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake, New Zealand
Areas that experience permanent ground deformation in earthquakes (e.g., surface fault rupture, slope failure, and/or liquefaction) typically sustain greater damage and loss compared to areas that experience strong ground shaking alone. The 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake generated ≥220 km of surface fault rupture. The amount and style of surface rupture deformation varied considerably, ranging from centimetre-scale distributed folding to metre-scale discrete rupture. About a dozen buildings – mainly residential (or residential-type) structures comprising single-storey timber-framed houses, barns and wool sheds with lightweight roofing material – were directly impacted by surface fault rupture with the severity of damage correlating with both local discrete fault displacement and local strain. However, none of these buildings collapsed. This included a house built directly atop a discrete rupture that experienced ~10 m of lateral offset. The foundation and flooring system of this structure allowed decoupling of much of the ground deformation from the superstructure thus preventing collapse. Nevertheless, buildings directly impacted by surface faulting suffered greater damage than comparable structures immediately outside the zone of surface rupture deformation. From a life-safety standpoint, all these buildings performed satisfactorily and provide insight into construction styles that could be employed to facilitate non-collapse performance resulting from surface fault rupture and, in certain instances, even post-event functionality.