Seismic hazard associated with the Springbank Fault, North Canterbury Plans
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
This study contains an evaluation of the seismic hazard associated with the Springbank Fault, a blind structure discovered in 1998 close to Christchurch. The assessment of the seismic hazard is approached as a deterministic process in which it is necessary to establish: 1) fault characteristics; 2) the maximum earthquake that the fault is capable of producing and 3) ground motions estimations. Due to the blind nature of the fault, conventional techniques used to establish the basic fault characteristics for seismic hazard assessments could not be applied. Alternative methods are used including global positioning system (GPS) surveys, morphometric analyses along rivers, shallow seismic reflection surveys and computer modelling. These were supplemented by using multiple empirical equations relating fault attributes to earthquake magnitude, and attenuation relationships to estimate ground motions in the near-fault zone. The analyses indicated that the Springbank Fault is a reverse structure located approximately 30 km to the northwest of Christchurch, along a strike length of approximately 16 km between the Eyre and Ashley River. The fault does not reach the surface, buy it is associated with a broad anticline whose maximum topographic expression offers close to the mid-length of the fault. Two other reverse faults, the Eyrewell and Sefton Faults, are inferred in the study area. These faults, together with the Springbank and Hororata Faults and interpreted as part of a sys of trust/reverse faults propagating from a decollement located at mid-crustal depths of approximately 14 km beneath the Canterbury Plains Within this fault system, the Springbank Fault is considered to behave in a seismically independent way, with a fault slip rate of ~0.2 mm/yr, and the capacity of producing a reverse-slip earthquake of moment magnitude ~6.4, with an earthquake recurrence of 3,000 years. An earthquake of the above characteristics represents a significant seismic hazard for various urban centres in the near-fault zone including Christchurch, Rangiora, Oxford, Amberley, Kaiapoi, Darfield, Rollestion and Cust. Estimated peak ground accelerations for these towns range between 0.14 g to 0.5 g.