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Forecasting future megaquakes on New Zealand’s biggest fault: the Hikurangi Subduction Zone

Project period: 2022 - 2025

Organisations: University of Otago, Victoria University of Wellington/Te Herenga Waka, Massey University, GNS Science/Te Pū Ao

Project location: East Coast of Te Ika-a-Māui/North Island

Introduction

A team of researchers, led by the University of Otago, are working to create a new earthquake forecasting model, to better understand the future of the Hikurangi Subduction Zone.

Globally, subduction zones are the deadliest and most destructive geological phenomena, and the Hikurangi Subduction Zone is Aotearoa’s largest source of earthquake and tsunami hazard. The ability to forecast major earthquakes on this fault is of profound significance, with the potential to provide insights that could preserve infrastructure, economic security, and life.

The project team will begin by building a catalogue of past earthquakes and examining existing forecasting models. The team will then complete the development of their own model and begin using it to explore the relationship between seismic swarms and slow-slip events and what they mean more major earthquakes.

The project hopes to provide robust insights into Hikurangi Subduction Zone earthquake risk to insurers and relevant government agencies, as well as emergency management and response services to inform their work.

Forecasting future megaquakes on New Zealand’s biggest fault: the Hikurangi Subduction Zone is a Smart Ideas project, funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment.

The project team is led by two University of Otago researchers: Science Lead, Associate Professor Ting Wang, and Impact Lead, Professor Mark Stirling.

 

Image: Provided by Jessica Allen, displays earthquake event locations along the Hikurangi Subduction Zone, plotted by time, between 2018 and 2021. Event data provided by Dr Calum Chamberlain.

Researchers investigate models for Hikurangi earthquake forecasting

Researchers investigate models for Hikurangi earthquake forecasting

Researchers are putting earthquake forecasting models under the microscope in their latest research, Forecasting fu...

2 April 2024

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