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New “Aotea” Fault-line Discovered in Wellington Harbour

New “Aotea” Fault-line Discovered in Wellington Harbour

“They tell me the faultline runs right through here”

Dr. Philip Barnes and Wellington mayor Celia Wade-Brown held a press conference today at NIWA, to discuss the discovery of a new fault line in Wellington harbor.

The fault runs roughly 2 kiolmetres long and about 400 metres out to sea from Aotea wharf, coming ashore at the southern end of Lambton quay.

Dr. Barnes reiterated the fact that more research is needed into the exact location that the fault comes onshore and how far it extends.

“We know it’s about 2 kilometres long,” said Dr. Barnes, “and would need to be at least 10 kilometres long” in order to produce displacement we have recorded from previous earthquakes dated by analysing the sediment core in the faulted layers.

The data does not indicate the possibility of the fault producing an earthquake in the near future, however the fault does have the potential to deliver magnitude 7 earthquakes, magnitude 6 being the minimum predicted magnitude to impact the surface.

“The discovery of the Aotea fault will not alter the risk profile for Wellington” said Dr. Barnes, and according to Celia Wade-Brown “Wellington already has the most stringent building code” with regard to earthquake safety in New Zealand.

The fault poses no risk of creating a Tsunami in the event of an earthquake and is not connected to any other fault-lines in the Wellington area.

Research into the fault was conducted by a number of organisations including GWRC and NIWA and was funded by “It’s our fault,” an organisation who conduct studies into earthquake management, discovery and solutions.

Further research will be done into the extent of the fault line, but at this stage NIWA and the Wellington City Council are confident current earthquake procedure and prevention will be adequate to deal with any activity from the Aotea fault.


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