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Alpine Fault Project Releases Video Series

Alpine Fault Project Releases Video Series to Mark Major Milestone

Project AF8, the South Island-wide effort to coordinate planning and preparation for a severe earthquake on the Alpine Fault, has released a series of short videos to mark the end of the first two years of its work.

The videos coincide with the completion of the draft SAFER Framework – SAFER stands for South Island Alpine Fault Earthquake Response. The framework provides the basis for civil defence, emergency services, lifelines utilities and other partner agencies to align and coordinate their planning for a rupture on the Alpine Fault.

The Chair of the Project AF8 Steering Group, Angus McKay from Emergency Management Southland, says there is compelling geological evidence stretching back 8000 years to show that the Alpine Fault produces a significant earthquake of magnitude 8 or greater every 300 years on average. Carbon dating of sediments from two sites in Fiordland show that the last rupture occurred in 1717.
“Some of New Zealand’s best scientific minds from universities, Crown Research Institutes and GNS Science have worked together to produce a credible scenario for what will happen with the next major earthquake on the Alpine Fault. We have used that scenario to work with our partners to identify the foreseeable impacts on communities and critical infrastructure across the South Island.

“The next step is to plan in more detail for a coordinated response to those impacts and the extensive disruption they will cause. Helping people to understand what an Alpine Fault earthquake will mean for them, their families and communities will be a central part of our next year’s work,” Mr McKay says.

The project has produced four two-minute videos that provide basic information about the Alpine Fault, how responses will be coordinated, and examples of how communities and businesses can be more resilient to the impact of emergencies. A companion set of longer TED Talk-style videos provides the detail for those seeking a more in-depth understanding of the science underpinning Project AF8. The links to the video are included below, along with a brief description of each one.

The draft SAFER Framework was completed last month and is currently being reviewed by all of the Civil Defence Emergency Management Groups across the South Island and their partner agencies. Project AF8 will begin implementing the finalised framework from 1 July, when it will also be publicly available online at

Project AF8 is being funded by the Ministry of Civil Defence & Emergency Management and through the Resilience to Nature’s Challenges Fund.

The Project AF8 Videos
Project AF8 has released four short videos (around 2 minutes each) to explain why we are taking the Alpine Fault so seriously and help people understand how they can be prepared for the disruption to normal life that a severe earthquake will cause.
• Video 1 features Dr Caroline Orchiston explaining what the Alpine Fault is; how scientists have established beyond doubt that it has an unusually regular seismic history; and uses the 2016 Kaikoura earthquake sequence to illustrate the kinds of impacts that a magnitude 8+ earthquake will have.
• Video 2 is a case study of the newly opened Camp Glenorchy, at the head of Lake Wakatipu in the Queestown Lakes District. Camp Glenorchy has been designed to be not only a sustainable development, but also to act as a community hub where locals and visitors will all find assistance.
• Video 3 is a case study of the Christchurch company EPL Ltd, whose owner Tom Thomson speaks frankly about the challenges he faced in keeping his business running after the February 2011 earthquakes and how he has ensured his firm is now more resilient.
• Video 4 explains how civil defence will coordinate the response to a significant emergency, including the rupture of the Alpine Fault, and emphasises the need for individuals, families and communities to be well prepared so they can look after themselves and those around them in the immediate aftermath.

There is also a longer series of videos, featuring some of the leading scientists who have been involved in Project AF8, talking about the science behind Project AF8. They are between 17 and 30 minutes long, similar to a TED Talk, and aimed at those who are seeking more detailed information about the Alpine Fault.
• Professor Brendon Bradley from Canterbury University is a Professor of Earthquake Engineering. His talk is entitled: What will a Large Earthquake Feel Like?
• Dr Caroline Orchiston from Otago University’s Centre for Sustainability, is the Science Lead for Project AF8. She speaks on the topic of: Planning for the Next Big Earthquake
• Associate Professor Tom Wilson from Canterbury University, whose specialist area is disaster risk and resilience, speaks on The Impacts of an Alpine Fault Quake
• Dr Ursula Cochran is an earthquake geologist from GNS Science. She explains the evidence for past large earthquakes on the Alpine Fault

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