Research Article

Complex multifault rupture during the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake, New Zealand

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Science  23 Mar 2017:
DOI: 10.1126/science.aam7194

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On 14th November 2016, the northeastern South Island of New Zealand was struck by a major Mw 7.8 earthquake. Field observations, in conjunction with InSAR, GPS, and seismology reveal this to be one of the most complex earthquakes ever recorded. The rupture propagated northward for more than 170 km along both mapped and unmapped faults, before continuing offshore at its northeastern extent. Geodetic and field observations reveal surface ruptures along at least 12 major faults, including possible slip along the southern Hikurangi subduction interface, extensive uplift along much of the coastline and widespread anelastic deformation including the ~8 m uplift of a fault-bounded block. This complex earthquake defies many conventional assumptions about the degree to which earthquake ruptures are controlled by fault segmentation, and should motivate re-thinking of these issues in seismic hazard models.

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