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  • 3He dating of rockfalls helps to distinguish between proximal and distal paleo-earthquakes in Christchurch, NZ

    The 2011 Christchurch earthquake series had severe consequences and surprised scientists for many reasons. Ground motions were extremely strong despite the relative moderate magnitudes of the quakes (MW 5.3-7.1). The events happened on a system of hitherto unknown faults, some of which are located directly below Christchurch. Earthquake environmental effects (EEE), especially liquefaction, were intense and widespread. It turned out that subsequent quakes reactivated the same feeder dikes of sand blows, showing that saturated sediments are susceptible of liquefaction no matter if they had been liquefied recently (also see the paper of Quigley et al. (2013) on the liquefaction effects). Another stunning lesson was the occurrence of intense rockfall in the vicinity of Christchurch. In a recently published study, Mackey and Quigley (2014) dated rockfall boulders with 3He and show that they allow to estimate the recurrence intervall of local seismic events like the 2011 series. This works is a very interesting way to use EEE for paleo-earthquake studies. more

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