Surface rupture displacement on the Greendale Fault during the Mw 7.1 Darfield (Canterbury) earthquake, New Zealand, and its impact on man-madestructures.
Surface rupture of the previously unrecognised Greendale Fault extended west-east for ~30 km across alluvial plains west of Christchurch, New Zealand, during the Mw 7.1 Darfield (Canterbury) earthquake of September 2010. Surface rupture displacement was predominantly dextral strike-slip, averaging ~2.5 m, with maxima of ~5 m. Vertical displacement was generally less than 0.75 m. The surface rupture deformation zone ranged in width from ~30 to 300 m, and comprised discrete shears, localised bulges and, primarily, horizontal dextral flexure. About a dozen buildings, mainly single-storey houses and farm sheds, were affected by surface rupture, but none collapsed, largely because most of the buildings were relatively flexible and resilient timber-framed structures and also because deformation was distributed over a relatively wide zone. There were, however, notable differences in the respective performances of the buildings. Houses with only lightly-reinforced concrete slab foundations suffered moderate to severe structural and non-structural damage. Three other buildings performed more favourably: one had a robust concrete slab foundation, another had a shallow-seated pile foundation that isolated ground deformation from the superstructure, and the third had a structural system that enabled the house to tilt and rotate as a rigid body. Roads, power lines, underground pipes, and fences were also deformed by surface fault rupture and suffered damage commensurate with the type of feature, its orientation to the fault, and the amount, sense and width of surface rupture deformation.