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Active landscapes 2013-14

Port Hills award 400

Next >> Dart River Landslide

The landscapes project is devoted to the study of landslides, their movement processes, role in landscape evolution, and development of measures to limit their impacts. Aspects include causal factors and movement rates, triggering mechanisms, mechanical properties and assessment of likelihood and consequences.

Landslides which vary in scale from small slips to large volume sudden catastrophic failures can be triggered by a variety of mechanisms such as intense rainfall or large magnitude earthquakes. Understanding what controls this variability is important for forecasting future landslide events.

In 2013, GNS Science recorded over 140 landslides that impacted roads, houses and other infrastructure. Three people lost their lives as a result of landslides.

The Dart River landslide was a key event of 2013, and featured in the New York Times video “How it Happens: Mudslides” (26 March 2014). There is more on the Dart River landslide here (Link ♦).

In research funded by the "Canterbury Earthquake Recovery Progamme," Peter Almond (Lincoln University) and Pilar Villamor (GNS Science) have found evidence of a 1,000 year-old paleoliquefaction event at Lincoln similar to the 2010-11 Canterbury earthquakes. Their findings suggest similar levels of shaking and confirm spatial recurrence of liquefaction along the same fractures in the soil. The aim of their project is to ultimately build up a body of knowledge that better enables assessment of liquefaction hazard and estimation of earthquake recurrence interval and intensity.

Research in the Port Hills is being used to define rules for land use in Christchurch. A novel ‘Landslide Risk Assessment’ for life safety was implemented for the Port Hills and has set a benchmark for New Zealand and international landslide risk assessment. At the annual NZSEE meeting in Auckland, the research group was given a special commendation (above). Led by Chris Massey (GNS Science), there was wide technical involvement across GNS Science and URS, Opus Research, Geotech Consulting, Christchurch City Council, CERA and international experts. A rockfall and landslide database has been developed for Christchurch City Council to manage, and the data is available to practitioners.

Next >> Dart River Landslide

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Last updated 7 Nov 2014