New Wellington fault line discovered

By Holly Bagge

The CentrePort container wharf in Wellington was damaged in the major quake that struck the city last year. Photo / Mark MItchell
The CentrePort container wharf in Wellington was damaged in the major quake that struck the city last year. Photo / Mark MItchell

An active fault line understood to run along the length of Wellington harbour, from the Westpac Stadium to Oriental Parade, has been discovered by scientists.

It was understood the fault then continued south where it then ran onshore and through the city, across to the Island Bay and Newtown areas, before reaching the Cook Strait on the southern coast.

The fault is capable of producing a maximum earthquake of between 6.3 and 7.1 magnitude maximum, but is believed to be smaller than the Wellington fault, which ran down the Hutt Valley along State Highway and south through Cook Strait.

National Institute of Water and Atmospheric research (Niwa) scientists have been studying the fault line along with GNS Science for about three to four years mapping the harbour bed, but wanted to be sure of their facts before discussing their findings with the public.

It was understood the scientists had suspected there could be a fault present when sonar mapping the harbour and had since checked on it frequently to confirm their findings.

Although scientists were sure of the fault, it was believed more research would need to be undertaken on dry land before they could confirm for certain that the fault ran through the city.

Further information on the fault will be announced by Niwa and Wellington City Council this afternoon.

Source : The New Zealand Herald

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