A comparison of historical and paleoseismicity in a newly formed fault zone and a mature fault zone, North Canterbury, New Zealand
The timing of large Holocene prehistoric earthquakes is determined by dated surface ruptures and landslides at the edge of the Australia-Pacific plate boundary zone in North Canterbury, New Zealand. Collectively, these data indicate two large (M > 7) earthquakes during the last circa 2500 years, within a newly formed zone of hybrid strike-slip and thrust faulting herein described as the Porter's Pass-to-Amberley Fault Zone (PPAFZ). Two earlier events during the Holocene are also recognized, but the data prior to 2500 years are presumed to be incomplete. A return period of 1300–2000 years between large earthquakes in the PPAFZ is consistent with a late Holocene slip rate of 3–4 mm/yr if each displacement is in the range 4–8 m. Historical seismicity in the PPAFZ is characterized by frequent small and moderate magnitude earthquakes and a seismicity rate that is identical to a region surrounding the structurally mature Hope fault of the Marlborough Fault System farther north. This is despite an order-of-magnitude difference in slip rate between the respective fault zones and considerable differences in the recurrence rate of large earthquakes. The magnitude-frequency distribution in the Hope fault region is in accord with the characteristic earthquake model, whereas the rate of large earthquakes in the PPAFZ is approximated (but over predicted) by the Gutenberg-Richter model. The comparison of these two fault zones demonstrates the importance of the structural maturity of the fault zone in relation to seismicity rates inferred from recent, historical, and paleoseismic data.... [Show full abstract]
Copyright 1996 by the American Geophysical Union.