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Scientists to study Kaikoura fault pattern

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New Zealand’s Earthquake Commission has engaged a structural geology expert from the University of Canterbury to study the mysterious effects of the 2016 Kaikoura quake.

Now regarded as one of the most complex earthquakes on record, the Kaikoura quake ruptured more than 17 active faults, while leaving other active faults in the area untouched.

Andy Nicol will lead a team of 14 researchers from the University of Canterbury, Lincoln University, GNS Science and Geoscience Australia.

Faults build up stress over time and rupture during an earthquake, with fault cycles developing over tens of thousands of years. Professor Nicol will compare cycles for some faults that ruptured in the Kaikoura quake with some that didn’t.

This will help create a picture of how faults behave and help forecast when they might rupture, possibly reducing the impact on people and property.