The previously unknown Greendale Fault ruptured to the ground surface, causing up to 5 metres horizontal and 1 metre vertical permanent offset of the ground, during the September 2010 Darfield (Canterbury) earthquake.
Environment Canterbury commissioned GNS Science, with help from the University of Canterbury, to define a fault avoidance zone and to estimate the fault recurrence interval.
There is little evidence for past movement on the fault in the past 16,000 years. However, because of the uncertainties involved, a conservative approach was taken and the fault has been categorised as a Recurrence Interval Class IV fault (a recurrence interval of between 5,000 and 10,000 years). A PhD study by a University of Canterbury student will work towards refining the Recurrence Interval Class over the next three years.
Taking a risk-based approach, the Ministry for the Environment Active Fault Guidelines recommend that normal residential development be allowed within the fault avoidance zone for faults of this Recurrence Interval Class, but recommends restrictions for larger community buildings or facilities with post-disaster functions.
The report is assisting Selwyn District Council in granting consents for rebuilding houses on or near the Greendale Fault that were damaged by permanent distortion of the ground due to the fault rupture in the September 2010 earthquake.
The report provides specific recommendations for building on or close to the Greendale Fault, which are being implemented by Selwyn District Council.
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