The commercial-science chickens have come home to roost. Where once there was confidence in “experts”, now there is very grave doubt. Now there is home-grown, amateur earthquake opinion of equal relevance to that produced by a public service long run down to the point of telling error.

Official geological theory of the Christchurch and Kaiapoi earthquakes has often followed the interpretation of aftershock patterns already made by the public, much earlier. Location of a significant fault-line beneath Christchurch city is the main example of this. Online commentary had this line picked, long before the Boxing Day 2010 quake or its locating by the boffins. They possibly delayed releasing findings due to caution.

But with a return to ‘business as usual’ the officials’ obvious priority, the geology experts missed and miscalculated both of the major new shakes since September 4th – expecting only an aftershock decay sequence – with sadly fatal results on 22 February (Rest In Peace, the sacrificial 182). The experts’ advice has subsequently garnered greatly reduced respect: a myopic and statistically-oriented ‘silo-mentality’ has hampered the academic work.

Anyone up in the wee hours of last Sunday, for example, should have felt a small but very expressive ground movement. This was no shake, but a minor adjustment, a momentary slip of the land into a new position. Instinct was to check immediately what would have caused that little ground shift:

Kermadec 5.6 Waimairi 3.4 - GNS drums 100711

Kermadec 5.6 Waimairi 3.4 - GNS drums 100711


Sure enough, it was initiated by another jolt on the Kermadec Trench, a 5.6 that rippled across Aotearoa twenty-two minutes earlier – from Kermadec collision continued – a shaking free of built-up local fault stress:
Magnitude 5.6 – KERMADEC ISLANDS, NEW ZEALAND 2011 July 09 13:54:20 UTC initiating
Magnitude 3.4, Sunday, July 10 2011 at 2:16 am (NZST), 10 km north-east of Christchurch.

This is the deep southern base of Kermadec Trench tectonics at work – thirty-six hours later, to drive still further again under Christchurch: Magnitude 4.3, Monday, July 11 2011 at 12:13 pm (NZST), Within 5 km of Christchurch when Magnitude 4.3 knocks power out. So to join these events (purple line added to Crowe.co.nz graphic):

Waimairi 3.6 in 7 days of magnitude 2 up - quake.Crowe.co.nz 120711

Waimairi 3.4 in 7 days of magnitude 2 up - quake.Crowe.co.nz 120711

Note the concentric volcanic crater faults that the scientists have posited are absorbing and transferring Greendale Fault energy, around Lyttelton Harbour and out to the south-east towards Akaroa crater. This means that the major strike-slip direction might have to resolve itself under Christchurch, north-eastward as indicated, if not directly eastward onto the Chatham Rise. The big picture:

Waimairi magnitude 3.4 quake line - GNS GoogleMap 090711

Waimairi magnitude 3.4 quake line - GNS GoogleMap 090711


Waimairi Hikurangi magnitude 3.4 - GNS GoogleMap 090711

Greendale-Waimairi-Hikurangi-Kermadec magnitude 3.4 - GNS GoogleMap 090711

~ Kia ora

Update 15 July 2011:

GNS Science tends to agree with the above-deduced fault line;
Graphic source: CERA Media Briefing – Friday 15 July 2011:

GNS Science CERA briefing diagram 150411

GNS Science CERA briefing diagram 150411

as do this week’s continued aftershocks; Graphic source quake.crowe.co.nz/QuakeMap/Search/
(Greendale, Lyttelton and Sumner faults drawn in, west to east, south-east):

7 days of magnitude 2 up - Crowe QuakeMap search 150711

7 days of magnitude 2 up - Crowe QuakeMap search 150711

South of Tonga, Kermedec, and Porongahau quakes are building up again, simultaneously this time ..it’s on its way.

7 days magnitude 2 up - Crowe QuakeMap 150711b

7 days magnitude 2 up - Crowe QuakeMap 150711b


On this map line, oldest to newest: north-east 10 Jul 2011 2:16am mag 3.4, 12 Jul 2011 9:43am mag 3.0, 11 Jul 2011 12:13pm mag 4.4, 14 Jul 2011 9:04pm mag 2.7, 15 Jul 2011 4:14pm mag 3.0, 13 Jul 2011 7:29pm mag 3.2, 14 Jul 2011 10:11pm mag 3.4 to south-west.

Scientists warn of climate distress “Disastrous floods, heatwaves, storms and droughts are becoming more frequent because of climate change, and will continue to do so. Scientists say the world can no longer ignore the link between climate change and extreme weather events, and they are urging countries to face up to the growing risks ahead. New Zealander Kevin Trenberth, who heads the climate-analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Colorado, said events of the past 18 months had been extraordinary. ‘It’s as clear a warning as we’re going to get about prospects for the future.’ Last year was the warmest on record and that warming was directly related to increases in carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, he said. It brought with it devastating floods in Pakistan and a heatwave in Russia, which resulted in riots around the world because of increased food prices. Subsequent floods in Sri Lanka, Brazil and Queensland also brought deaths on a huge scale, and Dr Trenberth said scientists were now considering how such extreme events were linked..” and The perfect storm – it brought snow “huge snowfall.. late start to the season” and New Zealand yet to feel the winter chill The Press

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