“Earthquakes that break in many faults not only affect a larger area, they also increase the amount of energy released, creating a stronger earthquake. So, it is very important to understand more about multi-fault earthquakes,” said Dr. Stahl.
“When you look at why and where earthquakes might leapfrog errors, you look at factors such as the distance between the error and whether an error is moving straight or sloping.
“In New Zealand, however, we also want to be able to calculate how our rock types behave under seismic pressure and what happens with errors that have been labeled ‘inactive’.”
So far Kaikōura Earthquake is the most complex multi-earthquake earthquake ever recorded. If it only solves the first error it will be a magnitude 7 earthquake. But because it is the first of 20 other strange errors, it is combined into an earthquake of magnitude 7.8 – which is about 16 times stronger.
“We really need to get a better idea of where this can occur and its impact on the ground surface, on infrastructure such as water and electricity, and on buildings,” said Dr Stahl.
“A better model means that we can provide better information about the likelihood and impact of future multi-fault earthquakes to emergency managers, councils, infrastructure providers and the public.”
Dr Stahl said the project will focus on areas that have not yet had a detailed investigation so far – between Waiau and Blenheim, where there are errors which are known to break in multi-fault earthquakes in the future.
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