Relationship between two recent New Zealand earthquakes

Sep 26, 2011
Medway footbridge over the Avon River after the earthquake. Credit: Schwede66

The relationship between two earthquakes that took place near Christchurch, New Zealand, in September 2010 and February 2011 is examined in a paper published in Scientific Reports. The findings suggest that the first earthquake contributed to the occurrence of the second by loading the fault along which the second event occurred with stress, bringing it closer to failure.

In September 2010, a magnitude-7.1 occurred in Darfield, about 30 miles west of Christchurch, along the previously unrecognised Greendale fault. A second, magnitude-6.3 earthquake took place near Christchurch city centre in February 2011. According to the Coulomb Stress Triggering theory, once an earthquake occurs, the stress does not dissipate but it propagates in the surrounding area, potentially increasing the occurrence of further earthquakes. But it has remained unclear whether the mainshock of the September 2010 event induced a stress redistribution that triggered the February 2011 event.

Using the Differential Interferometry (DInSAR) technique, Salvatore Stramondo and colleagues analyzed the relationship between the two earthquakes. The results show that the rupture of the September 2010 earthquake loaded a large portion of the crust with stress values exceeding 1 bar, which was sufficient to trigger the second earthquake.

Some have suggested that the second event may have been the largest of the 4,000 recorded over the Greendale fault and the surrounding area between September 2010 and February 2011. Further research is needed to determine whether this is the case or whether the second event is indeed a mainshock that occurred along a second fault, promoted by the stress build-up of the first earthquake.

Explore further: Magnitude-7.2 earthquake shakes Mexican capital

More information: www.nature.com/srep/2011/110922/srep00098/pdf/srep00098.pdf

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User comments : 3

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omatumr
1 / 5 (3) Sep 27, 2011
Thank you for this story.

I am pleased to see renewed efforts to understand the real causes of natural disasters.

Hopefully more focus on natural events (earthquakes, solar cycles, solar flares and eruptions) [1-4] will mean less hype and propaganda about human-induced changes in Earth's climate [5].

1. Suns motion and sunspots, Astron. J. 70, 193-200 (1965)

2. Cosmic rays and Earths climate, Space Sci Rev, pp. 1555-1666 (2000)

3. Solar eruptions and climate, JFE 21, 193-198 (2002)

http://arxiv.org/.../0501441

4. Earth's Heat Source - The Sun, E&E 20, 131-144 (2009)

http://arxiv.org/pdf/0905.0704

5. ManBearPig: Climategate and Watermelons (26 Sept 2011)

http://reason.com...imategat

With kind regards,
Oliver K. Manuel
http://myprofile....anuelo09

kaasinees
1 / 5 (1) Sep 27, 2011
2012!!
Graeme
not rated yet Oct 04, 2011
This should motivate more SAR scans of tectonically active areas to observe stress deformation. Even if earthquakes are not predictable due to lack of knowledge of the strength of faults.

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