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Effects of a quake on the Natural Environment

• Amount of change depends on magnitude an duration • Lateral movement – horizontal movement pulls crustal rocks apart and can make gaps on the surface called fissures. • These can show where the fault line is on the ground, as in the picture on the bottom.

Fissure after Edgecumbe Earthquake in 1987

Kaipoi 2011

Effects on the Natural Environment
• Vertical movement. Upward movement of the crustal rocks along the fault creates a scarp face (a small cliff) • Continued movement over thousands of years can create landforms called horsts and grabens. • Mt Cook & the Southern Alps are the result of millions of earthquakes and small vertical movements along the Alpine Fault.

Ahuriri Lagoon – Pre Napier Earthquake

Ahuriri Lagoon – Post Napier Earthquake 1939. 3m of vertical uplift in a few seconds

The Southern Alps rising up over 1cm a year… but eroding by close to 1cm a year at the same time.

• Shaking can de-stabalise cliffs and steep hillsides causing mass movement or landslides. • NSc4rOo

• If the substrate (ground) underneath is not solid rock but mad up of soft sediment it is prone to liquifaction.


• It is the process of loose soil with groundwater acting like a liquid during an earthquake. • This caused significant damage in the suburbs of Christchurch.

It also causes an increase in pressure so the groundwater forces up through the easiest route spilling onto to surface making sand volcanoes and causing flooding.

Ground settles

Kaipoi 2011

1964 Niigata Earthquake Magnitude 7.6


More liquifaction

• Earthquakes that cause the sea floor to rise and fall suddenly can set off Tsunami. • In deep water the waves can be less than 1 meter but can travel at around 800kph. When the wave hits hallow coastal water it slows down but increases in height.

• Tsunami waves don’t usually crash onto shores, instead they swamp large areas of land causing widespread destruction that can reach far inland. • Tsunamis in NZ have reached less than 1m high. • Recent extremely destructive Tsunamis were in Japan, Samoa, and the boxing day 2004 tsunami in Indonesia •

• Earthquakes in a lake or harbour can cause Tsunami waves that travel back and forth across the harbour like waves in a bath tub.

• Sieches could affect Wellington harbour coasts. • RXI4

• EQ can redirect streams causing new lakes and other waterways to form. • Movement of faults (which streams and rivers like to follow) and landslides can cause rivers to redirect, and carve out new waterways