Many Kiwis will live to see an Alpine Fault quake – Otago scientist

Long Lunch 31/08/2018
The predicted epicentre of the quake. Photo: File.

Some New Zealanders living today will probably see the day when the Alpine Fault triggers a magnitude-8 earthquake, says a University of Otago scientist.

Dr Caroline Orchistron, an Otago research fellow, worked with Emergency Management Groups in the South Island to develop ranging scenarios on the Alpine Fault - dubbed Project AF8.

A magnitude-8 quake is expected to hit the Alpine Fault once every 300 years or so, says Dr Orchistron.

“There’s pretty strong evidence we’re due for an earthquake in the next few decades,” she told RadioLIVE.

The 2011 Christchurch earthquake, which caused some $1 billion in damage, was confirmed a magnitude-7.8 earthquake.

“We’re talking about almost twice as much seismic energy being released by a magnitude-8 earthquake,” she said.

The anticipated earthquake would likely be felt all across the South Island with a Milford Sound epicentre, explained Dr Orchistron, with effects potentially reaching the southern tip of the North Island.

But grim news aside – Dr Orchistron’s research is intended to inform emergency services and the Civil Defence in order to better prepare the country for a future earthquake.

“There are lots of things we can be doing well in advance of anything happening on the Alpine Fault.”

Project AF8 began in 2016, with $680,000 worth of funding over three years granted by the Ministry of Civil Defence.

Listen to the full interview with Caroline Orchistron above.

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