Surface rupture of the greendale fault during the darfield (CANTERBURY) earthquake, New ZEALAND: Initial findings

M. Quigley, R. Van Dissen, P. Villamor, N. Litchfield, D. Barrell, K. Furlong, T. Stahl, B. Duffy, E. Bilderback, D. Noble, D. Townsend, J. Begg, R. Jongens, W. Ries, J. Claridge, A. Klahn, H. Mackenzie, A. Smith, S. Hornblow, R. NicolS. Cox, R. Langridge, K. Pedley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

69 Scopus citations


The Mw 7.1 Darfield (Canterbury) earthquake of 4 September 2010 (NZST) was the first earthquake in New Zealand to produce ground-surface fault rupture since the 1987 Edgecumbe earthquake. Surface rupture of the previously unrecognised Greendale Fault during the Darfield earthquake extends for at least 29.5 km and comprises an en echelon series of east-west striking, left-stepping traces. Displacement is predominantly dextral strike-slip, averaging -2.5 m, with maxima of -5 m along the central part of the rupture. Maximum vertical displacement is -1.5 m, but generally < 0.75 m. The south side of the fault has been uplifted relative to the north for -80% of the rupture length, except at the eastern end where the north side is up. The zone of surface rupture deformation ranges in width from -30 to 300 m, and comprises discrete shears, localised bulges and, primarily, horizontal dextral flexure. At least a dozen buildings were affected by surface rupture, but none collapsed, largely because most of the buildings were relatively flexible and robust timber-framed structures and because deformation was distributed over tens to hundreds of metres width. Many linear features, such as roads, fences, power lines, and irrigation ditches were offset or deformed by fault rupture, providing markers for accurate determinations of displacement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)236-242
Number of pages7
JournalBulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Geotechnical Engineering and Engineering Geology


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