More earthquake studies – this month down under in New Zealand, following the 14th November 2016 M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake. As with our other recent earthquake studies, we’re using GNSS technology (Global Navigation Satellite System, including GPS) to record aftershocks along active faults, combined with UAV drone data and terrestrial lidar laser-scanning to analyse the surface ruptures in detail and to compare topography before and after the quake. This research is in collaboration with Sheffield University and Victoria University of Wellington, funded by Natural Environment Research Council grant: NE/P021425/1.
Main image (above): USGS ‘shakemap’ contours for the 14th November 2016 M7.8 Kaikoura earthquake.
New Zealand is a complex zone of oblique (transpressional) deformation. This study will monitor the surface deformation in the area where multiple faults that slipped during the earthquake meet. Through this work we hope to learn more about the transfer of stress between faults over time periods of months, which will help to inform forward-modelling of the process of stress loading of surrounding faults following an earthquake.
We’ve used lidar for many years to help our commercial clients (in exploration, production, unconventionals, and diverse carbon management projects), as well as many aspects of our research. The GNSS units that we’ve developed are designed to be robust and semi-autonomous, and are able to gather data continuously over many weeks without maintenance. We initially developed the units for use in monitoring underground gas storage sites, so this is a good example of academic research benefitting from commercial development.