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Paper: The Canterbury earthquake sequence and earthquake environmental effects

Now that the new dates for the 8th PATA Days 2017 in New Zealand are fixed, it is time to bring to your attention an exceptional paper that was already published in 2016. I planned to write a review long time ago, but I just managed to do so now. The paper by Quigley et al. is not only likely to become your favourite read during the long flight to New Zealand, but it will also serve as an extremely valuable contribution to the study of earthquake environmental effects (EEEs) in general. The authors report on, and summarise, the effects that the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence had on the environment. The paper is special in many ways:

  • The authors provide a very detailed description of the EEEs that were observed during this earthquake series, and there were a lot. Primary effects were surface ruptures and coseismic uplift as well as folding. Secondary effects include impact on the drainage systems (river avulsion, gradient changes etc.), liquefaction, a manifold of mass movements, hydrological effects, damage to trees and many more.
  • The authors discuss all these effects with respect to their distribution, their paleoseimic significance, and their thresholds. The latter two are especially interesting as these provide a wonderful compendium of data which will help to better evaluate EEEs elsewhere. Similar to the original publication on the ESI-2007 scale, the Quigley et al. paper can serve as a guideline to recognise and to evaluate EEEs, and to incorporate them into future research. This paper adds a lot of new observations and data that will help to refine the ESI-2007 scale.
  • The paper includes exceptionally good photoplates and figures that summarise the occurrence of EEEs and their preservation in the geological record. Highly recommended for lectures and as cheat sheets in the field.

If you haven’t read the paper yet – this is my recommended read for your next long-distance flight. The paper is long, but in this case that’s good.

Hat tips to our colleagues from New Zealand!

Reference and further reading:

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Christoph Grützner

works at the Institute of Geological Sciences, Jena University. He likes Central Asia and the Mediterranean and looks for ancient earthquakes.

See all posts Christoph Grützner

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