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Defining Feilding fault risk

When an initial GNS Science report reclassified the Rauoterangi Fault running through Feilding as active, Manawatū District Council moved quickly to share knowledge on the likely area of fault zone hazard through public meetings, and commissioned further investigation to find out more.

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EQC is helping fund detailed research – a paleoseismic trench study – on the fault that runs through central Feilding under homes, businesses and a school, to understand more about its potential impact.

 Led by earthquake geologist Dr Rob Langridge, from GNS Science, the team is now radiocarbon dating and analysing samples from the trench to find out how often the fault has ruptured and at what magnitude. Early indications are that the fault could trigger a quake every 5,000 to 10,000 years.

Research results will be used in council land use planning, to ensure buildings in the fault zone are appropriate for their location, and in scenario planning for a coordinated earthquake response.

 Sharing information with the public has been part of the project, with extensive public information and discussion. During the research, pupils from Manchester Street School, located along one of the fault traces, were invited into the trench to talk to the scientists about their work.