Earthquake hazard in Christchurch

  • D. J. Dowrick GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • K. R. Berryman GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • G. H. McVerry GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand
  • J. X. Zhao GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand


This study endeavours to establish a reliable model of the seismicity in the region affecting Christchurch, using the results of the latest research into paleoseismicity and historical seismicity. Hazard models are then developed for Christchurch using this seismicity model in conjunction with attenuation models for peak ground acceleration, intensity and spectral accelerations. Comparisons of the hazard models have been made with historical records of intensities and peak ground accelerations, and comparisons of the seismicity, intensity and spectral acceleration models with those of Elder et al, Berrill et al, and of the New Zealand loadings code, where appropriate.


Elder, D.M., I.F. McCahon and M.D. Yetton (1991), The earthquake hazard in Christchurch: a detailed evaluation, Research Report to the EQC. Soils and Foundations Ltd, Christchurch, 131 pp.
Berrill, J.B., R.D. Davis and I.F. McCahon (I 993), Christchurch seismic hazard pilot study, Bulletin New Zealand National Society for Earthquake Engineering, 26(1), 14-27.

Smith, W.D. and K.R. Berryman (1983), Revised estimates of seismic hazard in New Zealand, Bulletin New Zealand National Society for Earthquake Engineering, 16(4), 259-272.
Smith, W.D. and K.R. Berryman (1992), Earthquake hazard estimates for New Zealand: Effects of changes in the seismicity model, Report to the EQC, DSIR Geology and Geophysics.
Matushchka, T., K.R. Berryman, A.J. O'Leary, G.H. McVerry, W.M. Mulholland and R.I. Skinner (1985), New Zealand seismic hazard analysis, Bulletin New Zealand National Society for Earthquake Engineering, 18(4): 313-322.
Kawashima, K., K. Aizawa and K. Takahashi (1984), Attenuation of peak ground motion and absolute acceleration response spectra, Proc. 8th World Conference on Earthquake Engineering, San Francisco, Vol. II, 257-264.
Bender, B. and D.M. Perkins (1987), Seisrisk III: a computer program for seismic hazard estimation. U. S. Geological Survey Bulletin 1772, 48 pp.
Hanson, S.L., P.C. Thenhaus, M. Chapman-Wilbert and D.M. Perkins (1992), Analyst's manual for USGS seismic hazard programs adapted to the Macintosh computer system. U. S. Geological Survey Open File Report 92-529. 64pp.
Van Dissen, R.J. and K.R. Berryman (1995), The Arthur's Pass (Avoca River) earthquake of 18 June, 1994: an overdue note regarding landslide damage and the search for surface rupture, Newsletter of the Geological Society of New Zealand, l 07: 28-33.
Hanks, T.C. and H. Kanamori (1979), A moment magnitude scale, Journal of Geophysical Research, 84: 2348-2350.
Cowan, H.A. (1991), The North Canterbury earthquake of September 1, 1888, Journal Royal Society of New Zealand, 21(1), 1-12.
Yang, J.S. (1991), The Kakapo fault - a major active dextral fault in the central North Canterbury-Buller regions of New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 34(2): 137-143.
Wells, D.L. and K.J. Coppersmith (1994), New empirical relationships among magnitude, rupture length, rupture width, rupture area, and surface displacement, Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America, 84(4): 974-1002.
Aki, K. and K. Irikura (1991), Characterization and mapping of earthquake shaking for seismic zonation, in: Proceedings; Fourth International Conference on Seismic Zonation, Volume 1.
Kneupfer, P.L.K. (1992), Temporal variations in latest Quaternary slip across the Australian-Pacific plate boundary, northeastern South Island, New Zealand, Tectonics, 11: 449-464.
Schwartz, D.P. and K.J. Coppersmith (1984), Fault behaviour and characteristic earthquakes: examples from the Wasatch and San Andreas fault zones, Journal of Geophysical Research, 89 (B7): 5681-5698.
Stirling, M.W., S.G. Wesnousky and K. Shimazaki (1996), Fault trace complexity, cumulative slip, and the shape of the magnitude-frequency distribution for strike- slip faults; a global survey, Geophysical Journal International, 124(3): 833-868.
Cowan, H., H. Nicol and P. Tonkin (1996), Paleoseismicity determined from fault trace and landslide data and its implications for frequency- magnitude relations among fault zones in North Canterbury, New Zealand, Journal of Geophysical Research, 101 B3: 6021-6036.
Cowan, H.A. (1989), An evaluation of the late Quaternary displacements and seismic hazard associated with the Hope and Kakapo faults, Amuri District, North Canterbury, Unpublished MSc. thesis, University of Canterbury, 212 pp.
Cowan, H.A. and M.S. McGlone (1991), Late holocene displacements and characteristic earthquakes on the Hope River segment of the Hope fault, New Zealand, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand, 21(4): 373-384.
Berryman, K.R., S. Beanland, A.F. Cooper, H.N. Cutten, R.J. Norris and P.R. Wood (1992), The Alpine fault, New Zealand: Variation in Quaternary structural style and geomorphic expression. Annales Tectonicae Suppl to Vol 6: 126-163.
Downes, G.L. (1995), Atlas o f isoseismal maps of New Zealand earthquakes, Monograph 11, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences, Lower Hutt.
Dowrick, DJ. (1994), Attenuation of Modified Mercalli intensity in New Zealand earthquakes, unpublished study in progress, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences, Lower Hutt.
Dowrick, DJ. (1994), Damage and intensities in the magnitude 7.8 1929 Murchison, New Zealand, earthquake, Bulletin New Zealand National Society for Earthquake Engineering, 27(3): 190-203.

Smith, W.D. (1978), Spatial distribution of felt intensities for New Zealand earthquakes, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 21: 293-311.
Zhao, J.X., DJ. Dowrick and G.H. McVerry (1997), Attenuation of peak ground accelerations in New Zealand earthquakes, Bulletin New Zealand National Society for Earthquake Engineering, 30: 133-157.
Cousins, WJ., R.T. Hefford, D.E. Baguley, S.M. O'Kane, G.H. McVerry and T.E. Porritt (1995), Computer analyses of New Zealand earthquake accelerograms, 9, the Arthur's Pass earthquake of 18 June 1994, Science Report 95/32, Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences 79pp.
Kausel, E., J.M. Roesset and J.T. Christian (1976), Non- linear behaviour in soil-structure interaction, Journal Geotechnical Division, ASCE, 102: GT11, 1159-1170.
Martin, G.R. and R. Dobry (1994), Earthquake site response and seismic code provisions, NCEER Bulletin, 8(4): 1-6.
NZS4203: (1992), Code of practice for general structural design and design loadings for buildings, Standards New Zealand, Wellington.
Barnes, P. (I996), Active folding of Pleistocene unconformities on the edge of the Australian-Pacific plate boundary zone, offshore North Canterbury, New Zealand, Tectonics, 15: 623-640.
Wood, P.R., B.R. Paterson and G. Howard (1989), An evaluation of foundation geology and seismotectonic hazards of the Lake Coleridge Power Scheme. NZ. Geological Survey Contract Report 1989/3, DSIR.
Beanland, S., R.O. Williams, M. Rattenbury, S. Nathan, K.R. Berryman, R. Van Dissen, A.G. Hull and T. Townsend, The Earth Deformation Studies Active Fault Database, institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Report (in prep).
Hull, A.G., unpublished data
Suggate, R.P. and D.D. Wilson (1957), Geology of the Harper and Avoca River Valleys, Mid- Canterbury, New Zealand, New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 1: 31-46.
McKay, A. (1980), On the geology of Marlborough and the Amuri District of Nelson [Part 1]. New Zealand Geological Survey. Reports of Geological Explorations During 1888-1889 (20): 85-185.
Freund, R. (1971), The Hope Fault: A strike-slip fault in New Zealand. New Zealand Geological Survey Bulletin, 86, DSIR.
Cave, M.P. (1986), Geology of Arthur's Pass National Park, 1:80,000, National Park Scientific Series, Department of Lands and Survey, Wellington, New Zealand.
Van Dissen, RJ. (1991), An evaluation of seismic hazard m the Kaikoura region, southeastern Marlborough, New Zealand Geological Survey Record, 43: 93-99.
Van Dissen, R.J. and R.S. Yeats (1991), Hope fault, Jordan thrust, and uplift of the Seaward Kaikoura Range, New Zealand, Geology, 19: 393-396.
Bull, W .8. (1991), Geomorphic responses to climate change, Oxford University Press.
Berryman, K.R. and S. Beanland, unpublished data
Yang, J.S. (1992), Landslide mapping and major earthquakes on the Kakapo fault, South Island, New Zealand, Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 22: 205-212.
Barnes, P.M. (1994), Continental extension of the Pacific plate at the southern termination of the Hikurangi subduction zone: the North Memoo fault zone, offshore New Zealand, Tectonics, 13(4): 735-754.
Wood, P.R., unpublished data
Grapes, R. and G. Downes (1997), The 1855 Wairarapa, New Zealand, earthquake - analysis of historical data, Bulletin New Zealand National Society for Earthquake Engineering, 30(4): 271-368.

Dowrick, DJ., Damage and Modified Mercalli intensity studies of various New Zealand earthquakes, (in preparation).
IGNS. Intensity map of the 1994 Arthur's Pass earthquake, (In preparation).
How to Cite
Dowrick, D. J., Berryman, K. R., McVerry, G. H., & Zhao, J. X. (1998). Earthquake hazard in Christchurch . Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering, 31(1), 1-23. Retrieved from

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 3 > >>