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Hamilton’s earthquake risk to be pinpointed

The Earthquake Commission (EQC) is funding research that has identified at least five unknown fault zones running between Cambridge and Ngaruawahia, and through Hamilton.


Researchers are continuing their investigations into fault and liquefaction potential under the city, with the aim of better understanding its earthquake risk.


In May last year, Waikato researchers Dr Vicki Moon and Dr Willem de Lange publically revealed previously undiscovered, ancient fault lines and highlighted liquefaction potential.


Since then, new airborne and ground-based surveying of the Hamilton basin area has provided better mapping of the fault lines.


Now with $70,000 funding from EQC’s Biennial Grants Programme, the researchers hope to pinpoint the city’s real risk of future events.


The research and its outcome are considered to be of significant importance to the Waikato Regional Council’s Regional Hazards Team, which is funding three Waikato University students to support Dr de Lange’s research.


“We’re having to go further underground as the surface data doesn’t identify the specific fault details. The EQC grant has allowed us to make seismic surveys of the Waikato River basin,” says Dr de Lange.


“Once we have this more reliable evidence, it will give us a better idea of the risk to some of the key city infrastructure areas.”


“Liquefaction is found to be caused by particular types of soil, and our research will also be focusing on how susceptible Hamilton’s ground is in this regard.


“It could be that the risk is less than we first thought, but this research will give us more certainty on the threat earthquakes pose to Hamilton,” Dr de Lange says.


This research is one of 15 projects which have received $1 million in funding from EQC’s 2016 Biennial Grants Programme. The Programme is part of $16 million granted by EQC each year to high quality research that builds knowledge about New Zealand’s natural disasters.


Contact Details:


For media interview, contact Dr Willem de Lange, Waikato University on (07) 837 9385.

Biennial Grants Programme media information, contact or 029 978 6430


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