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Snow on the mountains of the Pacific plate contrasts with the lower land of the Australian plate. [2] At the same time, Harold Wellman proposed the 480 km (300 miles) lateral displacement on the Alpine Fault. Software Updates. Prehistoric dates of the most recent Alpine fault earthquakes, New Zealand. In between earthquakes, the Alpine Fault is locked. [10] So while earthquakes are an important part of Māori oral tradition, no stories have been passed down about South Island earthquakes. Commercial re-use may be allowed on request. The diagram was created for the purpose of the current study. a sideways-moving fault is ‘strike-slip’, while a fault where the movement is mostly updown - is called ‘dip-slip’. In earthquake terms, the 850 kilometres (530 mi) long fault is remarkably consistent, rupturing on average every 330 years, at intervals ranging from 140 years to 510 years. In the south the fault is mostly on land and is a strike-slip type, creating no tsunami hazard, Ward said. ; and Stewart, G.H. The Alpine fault is the Pacific‐Australian plate boundary in the South Island of New Zealand. ", "DEEP FAULT DRILLING PROJECT-2 FAQs / drill probe in Alpine Fault / Media Releases / News and Events / Home – GNS Science", "Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault", "Potential earthquake triggering in a complex fault network: the northern South Island, New Zealand", Alpine Fault research in the Department of Geology. We report on a 45 km long section of the fault system within an area between the mouth of the Wairoa [6][7] Also near the surface the fault can have multiple rupture zones. [clarification needed] Most of the movement along the fault occurs in this zone. Collision has been active since the Cenozoic and exhumation models predict that surface rocks were buried ~20km in the Pliocene. Although most of the plate movement is concentrated at the subduction zones and the Alpine Fault, there is a wider zone of deformation, marked by numerous active faults, shown by thin red lines (from New Zealand Active Faults Database (NZAFD)). [27] The DFDP was the second project to try to drill an active fault zone and return samples after the San Andreas Fault Observatory at Depth. The rupture will produce one of the biggest earthquakes since European settlement of New Zealand, and it will have a major impact on the lives of many people. All text licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence unless otherwise stated. An Otago geologist's draft manuscript suggests there's a tectonic fault system off the South Island's east coast potentially comparable in size to the Alpine Fault. B: Arrows and enlargements highlight PST veins in quartzofeldspathic mylonite (photomicrograph in plane polarized light). [1][5], The Alpine Fault has the greatest uplift near Aoraki / Mount Cook in its central section. [4], The Indo-Australian Plate is subducting towards the east south of the South Island and the Pacific Plate is subducting towards the West to the north. Figure 7Schematic diagram of the dextral-reverse Alpine Fault and its scarp. [3], Large ruptures can also trigger earthquakes on the faults continuing north from the Alpine Fault. The Next Alpine Fault Earthquake in New Zealand, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Alpine_Fault&oldid=992720605, Geographic areas of seismological interest, Articles with dead external links from June 2020, Articles with permanently dead external links, Short description is different from Wikidata, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from November 2020, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, 2003 – Fiordland, estimated magnitude = 7.1. Scientists say that a similar earthquake could happen at any time as the interval since 1717 is longer than between the earlier events. [16] A 2018 study says that a significant rupture in the Alpine Fault could lead to roads (particularly in or to the West Coast) being blocked for months, as with the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake, with problems in supplying towns and evacuating tourists. The Alpine Fault in the central region forms dipping sections with oblique thrust characteristics connected by sections with mainly dextral strike-slip, resulting in a "zigzag" outcrop pattern. The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly. There have been no major historical earthquakes on the Alpine Fault. ; Duncan, R.P. Generally the fault has a simple straight trace, striking ca. [12] The 1717 quake appears to have involved a rupture along nearly 400 kilometres (250 mi) of the southern two-thirds of the fault. Read more. This displacement was inferred by Wellman due in part to the similarity of rocks in Southland and Nelson on either side of the Alpine Fault. However, most of the motion on the fault is strike-slip (side to side), with the Tasman district and West Coast moving North and Canterbury and Otago moving South. The Alpine Fault is a geological fault that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand's South Island and forms the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. Source: NIWA – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Eileen McSaveney, 'Active faults - Building on or near active faults', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/diagram/4361/alpine-fault-offshore-from-fiordland (accessed 16 December 2020), Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 1 Aug 2017. [5] Then uplift slowly began as the plate motion became slightly oblique to the strike of the Alpine Fault. These had previously been determined to have occurred in approximately 1100, 1430, 1620 and 1717 CE, at intervals between 100 and 350 years. Find a local Authorised Alpine Specialist Dealer in your area. Register Warranty. Earthquakes along the fault, and the associated earth movements, have formed the Southern Alps. The Māori arrived in New Zealand c.1300 but never reached a high population density in the colder South Island. It passes out to sea just north of Milford Sound, and marks the western edge of northern Fiordland. In the north, the fault trends offshore and into thrust type, "where tsunami can be born". Alpine Fault movement. [25], The Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP) was an attempt in 2014 to retrieve rock and fluid samples and make geophysical measurements inside the Alpine Fault zone at depth. Offshore investigations have allowed the Alpine Fault to be accurately mapped immediately west of Fiordland. NIWA – National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 New Zealand Licence. The Southern Alps had not yet formed and most of New Zealand was covered in water. All non-text content is subject to specific conditions. At this point it splits into a set of smaller faults known as the Marlborough Fault System. This item has been provided for private study purposes (such as school projects, family and local history research) and any published reproduction (print or electronic) may infringe copyright law. In between is a sideways tear, the Alpine Fault. This gave a mean recurrence rate of 291 years, plus or minus 23 years, down from the previously estimated rate of 329 years, plus or minus 26 years. The Hope Fault is thought to represent the primary continuation of the Alpine Fault. [23] Wellman also proposed in 1964 that the Alpine Fault was a Cenozoic structure, which was in conflict with the older Mesozoic age accepted at the time. Search. Transform fault (the red lines) A transform fault or transform boundary is a fault along a plate boundary where the motion is predominantly horizontal. Lateral displacements of this magnitude could not be explained by pre-plate tectonics geology and his ideas were not initially widely accepted until 1956. Download the latest software for your system or device. [2] The last major earthquake on the Alpine Fault was in c. 1717 AD, the probability of another one occurring within the next 50 years is estimated at about 30 percent. This includes mylonites and the Alpine Schist, which increases in metamorphic grade towards the fault. In this view looking south across Gaunt Creek, the Alpine Fault is seen emplacing mylonite over Holocene gravels. The Alpine Fault is a geological fault, specifically a right-lateral strike-slip fault, that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand’s South Island. [1][3], The Pacific Plate and Indo-Australian Plate boundary forms the Macquarie Fault Zone in the Puysegur Trench off the southwestern corner of the South Island and comes onshore as the Alpine Fault just north of Milford Sound. The fault system extends northeast from the Alpine Fault near St Arnaud, through the eastern part of Tasman District and into Nelson City and Tasman Bay (Fig. 2.2. This is distributed as 36–39 mm of horizontal and 6–10 mm upwards movement on the fault's plane per year.[2]. [27] It was led by New Zealand geologists Rupert Sutherland, John Townsend and Virginia Toy and involves an international team from New Zealand, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States. The Alpine Fault is called a strike slip or transform fault. [1] This, along with isostatic constraints, has kept the Southern Alps less than 4000 m. Uplift on the Alpine Fault has led to the exposure of deep metamorphic rocks near the fault within the Southern Alps. Read more. [22], Richard Norris and Alan Cooper from the Department of Geology, University of Otago conducted extensive research on the structure and petrology of the Alpine Fault respectively throughout the later 20th and early 21st centuries. This set of faults, which includes the Wairau Fault, the Hope Fault, the Awatere Fault, and the Clarence Fault, transfer displacement between the Alpine Fault and the Hikurangi subduction zone to the north. [1] The Southern Alps have been uplifted on the fault over the last 12 million years in a series of earthquakes. South Island. Through the South Island the Alpine Fault acts as a transfer of plate convergence to east facing subduction of the Australian plate beneath the Pacific plate, occurring south of New Zealand in the Puysegur trench. In addition, an earlier earthquake was identified to have occurred between 887 and 965.[14]. Normal faults are common; they bound many of the mountain ranges of the world and many of the rift valleys found along spreading margins… This study analyzes 195 earthquakes recorded during the 6 month duration of the Southern Alps Passive Seismic Experiment (SAPSE) in 1995/1996 and two M L 5.0 earthquakes and aftershocks in 1997, which occurred close to the central part of the Alpine fault. [27][28] One of the goals of the project was to use the deformed rocks from the fault zone to determine its resistance to stress. Most of the alpine area is in the South Island, where several mountain peaks in the Southern Alps are higher than 3,000 metres. Ensure your Alpine product is covered by our limited warranty* Register. Knife is 7 cm long. [24] Originally this regional increase in grade was inferred to be from frictional heating along the fault not uplift of deeper geological sequences. A right-lateral strike-slip fault, that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand's South Island. In this case the mapped fault trace (rupture surface; bold red line) is located near the base of the scarp. In the last 12 million years the Southern Alps have been uplifted approximately 20 kilometres, however, as this has occurred more rain has been trapped by the mountains leading to more erosion. Between 25 and 12 million years ago the movement on the proto-Alpine Fault was exclusively strike-slip. [11] Over the last thousand years, there have been four major ruptures along the Alpine Fault causing earthquakes of about magnitude 8. The alpine zone is usually defined as the area between the upper limit of trees (the timberline or the treeline) and the lower limit of permanent snow. The uplift is due to an element of convergence between the plates, meaning that the fault has a significant high-angle reverse oblique component[clarification needed] to its displacement. The Southern Alps have been uplifted on the fault over the last 12 million years in a series of earthquakes. oriented 17 ø counterclockwise to the strike of the Alpine fault (Figure 2). The Australian plate pushing below the Pacific plate and running parallel to it has brought the deeper strata of rock to the surface. In New Zealand this alpine area is about 30,000 square kilometres (about 11% of the country). Strike-slip faults have walls that move sideways, not up or down. ... the South Island's alpine fault is a transform fault for much of its length. 1). This idea coupled with the displacement on the fault proposed that the earth's surface was in relatively rapid constant movement and helped to overthrow the old geosynclinal hypothesis in favour of plate tectonics. Movement along the Alpine Fault is deforming the microcontinent of, Pacific Plate and Indo-Australian Plate boundary, Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, "Alpine Fault / Major Faults in New Zealand / Earthquakes / Science Topics / Learning / Home – GNS Science", "New study says Alpine Fault quake interval shorter than thought: GNS Science", "Timing of late Holocene surface rupture of the Wairau Fault, Marlborough, New Zealand", 10.1130/0016-7606(1995)107<0231:OOSSSA>2.3.CO;2, "An extremely low-density human population exterminated New Zealand moa", "1. [27] Researchers also planned to install long term equipment for measuring pressure, temperature and seismic activity near the fault zone. [29], In 2017 they reported they had discovered beneath Whataroa, a small township on the Alpine Fault, "extreme" hydrothermal activity which "could be commercially very significant". The fault passes out to sea north of Milford Sound, and is a distinct linear feature on the seafloor and in seismic profiles. This page was last edited on 6 December 2020, at 19:25. The Alpine Fault is a geological fault that runs almost the entire length of New Zealand's South Island (c. 480 km) and forms the boundary between the Pacific Plate and the Indo-Australian Plate. The last rupture of the Hope Fault was in 1888 when an earthquake with an estimated mome7.3 nt magnitude of 7- produced fault slip of about 2.5 m in the horizontal direction (Figure 4). The dominant movement on the fault is horizontal as shown by circle symbols at the base of the figure (arrow away/towards). Other articles where Normal fault is discussed: fault: Normal dip-slip faults are produced by vertical compression as Earth’s crust lengthens. [26][27] It was a $2.5 million international research project designed to drill 1.3 km to the fault plan in two months. Wells, A.; Yetton, M.T. [30][31] One of the lead researchers said that it is likely to be globally unique.[32]. – Historic earthquakes – Te Ara Encyclopedia of New Zealand", "Catastrophic events in New Zealand coastal environments", "Videos show devastating impact across South Island if Alpine Fault ruptures", "Thousands to be evacuated, highways blocked for months when Alpine Fault ruptures", "South Island plan for the next Alpine Fault quake", "Buller District Council Lifelines Study (Alpine Fault Earthquake Scenario)", "Harold Wellman and the Alpine Fault of New Zealand", "Structure and distribution of fault rocks in the Alpine Fault Zone, New Zealand", "Deep Fault Drilling Project—Alpine Fault, New Zealand", "Drilling into an active earthquake fault in New Zealand", "Why are scientists drilling into the San Andreas fault? Diagram 4 above represents the layering of these rock types and their exposure to the west of the Southern Alpine Main Divide by uplifting at the Alpine Fault border). [20][21], In 1940 Harold Wellman found that the Southern Alps were associated with a fault line approximately 650 km (400 miles) long. The Alpine Fault is a mature, dextral strike-slip fault that marks the western boundary of the Southern Alps. [9] However, it is now inferred by multiples lines of evidence that the Alpine Fault ruptures creating major earthquakes about every few hundred years. Figure 11 Schematic diagram of the dextral-reverse Alpine Fault and its scarp. A Central Otago geologist's draft manuscript suggests a new east coast offshore tectonic fault system could be comparable in size to the Alpine Fault. It is the responsibility of the user of any material to obtain clearance from the copyright holder. It was during this time that the cyclicity of the Alpine Fault earthquakes and meaning of the increase in metamorphic grade towards the fault was discovered and refined. Strike-Slip Faults. Metamorphic grades in the hanging-wall Alpine Schist and a typical fault rock assemblage (modified from Toy et al., 2011) are indicated, as is the location of the pseudotachylyte (PST) in an outcrop at the Little Man River illustrated in B. The dominant movement on the fault is horizontal as shown by circle symbols at the base of the figure (arrow away/towards). [13] Newer research carried out by the University of Otago and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation revised the dates of the pre-1717 earthquakes to between 1535 and 1596 (instead of 1620), 1374 and 1405 (instead of 1430), and 1064 and 1120 (instead of 1100). Fault on this satellite image of the Southern Alps have been no major historical on! Is discussed: fault: Normal dip-slip faults are produced by vertical compression as earth ’ s lengthens. 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