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New fault found below Canterbury

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New fault found below Canterbury

Post by shammy on Fri Jun 03, 2011 1:44 pm

A previously undiscovered fault capable of generating a magnitude-7 earthquake has been found by scientists investigating bedrock off Christchurch.

Analysis of the Canterbury earthquakes is being carried out by teams of scientists from agencies including GNS Science, NIWA and the University of Canterbury.

They have found a previously unknown "complex arrangements of faults" in the bedrock under Canterbury and offshore under Pegasus Bay.

One of those was an offshore fault about 25km long - similar in length to the Greendale fault which caused the original Canterbury earthquake on September 4.

The large fault was discovered when NIWA's research vessel Kaharoa conducted a seismic survey of 800 square kilometres in southern Pegasus Bay.

NIWA principal scientist Philip Barnes said it was part of a widespread network of faults in basement rocks in the bay.

Most were millions of years old and "very slow moving" - though a small number of faults showed evidence of reactivation in the more recent geological past, he said.


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