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Contest 2017 Projects & Final Reports

For Contest 2017, the NHRP received 58 proposals.  Eleven projects were selected amounting to $3.2 million (GST ex) in total.  The Platform Management and Strategic Advisory Groups extend their appreciation to all applicants for their submissions.

Pre-historic earthquakes on Kaikoura's earthquake faults and implications for seismic hazard.

This project will address fundamental questions regarding the hazard posed by faults involved in the Kaikōura Earthquake in the northern South Island.  The Kaikōura Earthquake not only ruptured mapped and unmapped active faults, but also involved parts of four multi-fault seismic sources in the fault model of the National Seismic Hazard Model (NSHM). The project will use post-earthquake LiDAR and mapping undertaken as part of the Kaikōura Earthquake Response to define slip rate and paleoseismic sites along the Humps Fault Zone (HFZ), Hundalee (HF), Hope-Seaward (H-S) and Papatea (PF) faults.

These four faults have been selected because they: (i) are representative of North Canterbury Domain faults for which there is little to no slip rate or paleoseismic data (HFZ, HF); (ii) were not previously recognised as active faults and so have no pre-existing hazards data (PF); (iii) were not previously included in the NSHM as fault sources (HFZ, PF); and (iv) have previously been included in the NSHM but have only ruptured in part, or surprisingly not at all, during the 2016 Kaikōura Earthquake (HF, H-S).

This project aims to collect data on the longer-term activity (slip rate) and earthquake history (paleoseismicity and recurrence interval) of these four faults and to address their role in the Kaikōura Earthquake and these types of multi-fault events. 

Paleo-coastal uplift along the Kaikoura coastline: Detecting multi-fault rupture and implications for the southern Hikurangi margin.

The 2016 Kaikōura earthquake caused large (≤6 m) and highly variable uplift over a 110 km stretch of coastline. Along much of the Kaikōura coastline are Holocene raised shorelines (marine terraces) that record co-seismic uplift in prehistoric earthquakes. This project will use Holocene marine terraces to document the timing and spatial extent of past earthquake ruptures that have impacted the Kaikōura coastline. This will resolve whether multi-fault rupture, as seen in the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake, is a typical or atypical mode of earthquake behaviour for this part of the New Zealand plate boundary, and will identify if there are areas of paleo-coastal uplift that did not uplift in the modern event and may pose a future hazard.

Following the Kaikōura earthquake, we collected the highest-resolution dataset of coastal and LiDAR data for the entire Kaikōura coastline from the Conway River to Cape Campbell is now available, allowing detailed mapping of Holocene marine terraces. The high-resolution dataset of topography and coseismic uplift provides an unprecedented opportunity to compare modern and past coseismic coastal uplift. Furthermore, the high-resolution topography may enable the identification of past ruptures of the subduction interface.

Stability of buckling-restrained braced frame (BRBF) connections using a simplified notional load yield line method.

Prior to the Canterbury earthquakes, Eccentrically-Braced Frames (EBFs)  were the most common form of multi-storey seismic resisting system in New Zealand. Following the Canterbury earthquakes, both conventional Concentrically Braced Frames (CBFs) and EBFs have been largely replaced by Buckling-Restrained Braced Frames (BRBF) seismic resisting systems.  In New Zealand, the design procedures for CBFs were developed and initially published in 1994 and have performed well in recent severe earthquakes. However, BRBFs have different structural characteristics to normal CBF braces and require very different performance.  There is currently no available robustly researched design procedure anywhere for BRBF gusset plates and this is recognised as a serious issue by the professional bodies and the structural steel profession. This project will develop a practical design procedure that covers the new generation, low damage BRBFs.

Adaptive and interactive futures: A 'serious game' for decision-making and coastal hazards.

Throughout coastal New Zealand, residents and communities face difficult choices regarding how to adapt to coastal hazards.  Urban development in coastal areas, rising property values, and infrastructure investments are increasingly confronted by coastal inundation, coastal erosion, and the escalating potential impacts and consequences of hazard events including tsunami and storm surges. This project meets the need for novel methods for community engagement, and builds capacity for exploring complex questions through the design, testing and release of a ‘serious game’. It builds community and research capability to envisage future impacts and enhances capacity for dealing with the inevitable complex challenges and trade-offs associated with the growing prevalence of coastal hazards, and the likely effects of climate change on risk profiles.  

Improved medium-term earthquake forecasting.

  • Project Leader: Dr David Rhoades, GNS Science
  • Funding: $249,900 GST ex
  • Organisations involved: GNS, overseas collaboration with in-kind support
  • Final Report
  • Rhoades DA, Christophersen A (2019) Time-varying probabilities of earthquake occurrence in central New Zealand based on the EEPAS model compensated for time-lag  Geophysical Journal International, 219(1): 417–429 (Link)
  • Back to Project List (Link)

The hybrid earthquake forecasting models that have been applied during recent major aftershock sequences in New Zealand since 2010 are comprised of  long-, medium- and short-term components. The medium-term component is thus the only component of our hybrid forecasting model for which the magnitude distribution of earthquakes varies in both space and time. The manner in which it varies is not clearly seen in the standard outputs from our hybrid forecasting model. The proposed research will contribute new formats for the expression of medium-term earthquake forecasts. The new formats will describe the distribution of expected earthquake occurrence in time, magnitude and location for the benefit of end-users interested in time-varying earthquake hazard and risk.

Too big to fail? A multi-disciplinary approach to predict collapse and debris flow hazards from Mt Ruapehu.

Mass flows from volcano collapse pose an on-going and generally overlooked risk to tourism, local businesses, iwi and local communities around active volcanoes. The flank collapse and subsequent eruption of Te Maari in 2012 demonstrated the great need to understand and assess alteration and its role in the volcanic hazardscape. Such disasters can cause major loss of life and infrastructure damage similar to the 1980 Mount St. Helens flank collapse and eruptions. This project aims to improve our understanding of hazards around volcanoes based on a unique combination of airborne imaging, laboratory, and field techniques. The integration of new remote sensing technologies with field sampling and subsequent numerical simulations deliver a novel workflow of volcano flank stability and hazard assessment, vastly improving how we visualize, understand, and improve pre-disaster mitigation efforts around active volcanoes. The fusion of these advanced techniques has never been attempted in New Zealand nor globally, impacting the broader field of natural hazards research.

Towards robust decision-making in natural hazard risk management: Uncertainty quantification for RiskScape-MERIT modelling.

Increasingly, decision-makers are asking for the uncertainty associated with natural hazard events to be made explicit, and with quantification. The proposed programme will add value and new capabilities to the RiskScape and MERIT modelling tools, and will improve the effective integration of these tools for multidisciplinary, integrated natural hazard impact assessment. The integration of RiskScape and MERIT models has been tested and the current proposal seeks to create a step-change in this modelling by incorporating uncertainty estimation.

Indicators of vulnerable populations to natural hazards: A case study of flooding in the Porirua City Council area.

  • Project Leader: Professor Barry Borman, Massey University
  • Funding: $220,000 GST ex
  • Organisations involved: Massey University, Tu Taiao, GNS Science, consultant urban planner, Ministry of Health in-kind support
  • Vision Mātauranga included
  • Final Report
  • Story Map for Porirua – an online interactive map, with flood hazard zones and social vulnerability indicators (Link)
  • Back to Project List (Link)

Flooding is one of the most frequent and costly natural hazards in New Zealand, and is expected to become more frequent and severe as a result of climate change. This project will develop social vulnerability indicators for flooding in New Zealand, using the area covered by the Porirua City Council as a case study to test the indicators and their application. This project will: (i) develop an online mapping tool for exploring social vulnerability indicators to flooding;  (ii) integrate social vulnerability indicators into RiskScape; and (iii) inform on how the information can be used at a local government level to ensure that the effects of flooding on socially vulnerable communities can be reduced. The outputs will collectively form a practical tool for local government to use in land use planning and emergency management.

Enhanced probabilistic flood forecasting using optimally designed numerical weather prediction ensembles.

Flooding is New Zealand’s most frequent natural disaster with an average annual cost of approximately $51 million. The New Zealand Insurance Council reports costs related to flood events as $135.5 million for 2017 alone, making it one of the most damaging years for extreme weather events in recent times. The key outcome of this research project will be enhanced high resolution probabilistic flood forecasts in New Zealand for up to 2 days in advance. The goal of this project is to improve flood forecasting accuracy by understanding and appropriately quantifying the biases in the driving Numerical Weather Prediction (NWP) model. Operational and research flood forecasting systems around the world are increasingly moving towards using NWP ensembles, rather than single deterministic forecasts, to drive their flood forecasting systems. Our aim is to develop and optimally design an ensemble flood forecasting framework to mitigate economic, social and environmental impacts of flood hazards and improve decision-making through the application of reliable planning and forecast information.

Improving the seismic performance of glazing and windows.

The Kaikōura and Canterbury earthquakes have highlighted the damage earthquakes cause to windows and glazing systems in general. Photos in the media of shattered glass on footpaths and reports that areas may be cordoned off because of the risk posed by falling glass remind us that the performance of glass in earthquakes can be a life-safety matter. Also, the repair of glass facades can be costly and time-consuming. Despite the apparent risks associated with poor performance of glazing in earthquakes, the New Zealand engineering community has a relatively limited amount of information available for the assessment of such risks. This research will positively impact the industry, providing guidelines for the assessment of damage and losses, including seismic vulnerability, of glazing systems and windows in buildings, to reduce impact from future earthquake events.   

Quicker and safer tsunami evacuations through agent-based modelling.

Coastal communities throughout New Zealand are vulnerable to local source tsunamis that could inundate low-lying areas in a matter of minutes. It is important to ensure that these communities are aware of their risk and know how to prepare and respond to these events. Agent-based tsunami evacuation modelling is an approach to the simulation of the movement of people during an evacuation event. This approach improves on other methods for estimating evacuation times due to a better representation of the range of different characteristics in the population (walking speed, decision speed), and can incorporate the effects of agent interactions, such as the effects of congestion and the increased likelihood of evacuation when others are seen to be evacuating. This technique is in an early stage of development globally, and there are no standard software packages adapted to this specific problem. Our aim is to develop an agent-based approach to simulating the tsunami evacuation response, including culture-specific community feedback, which will allow emergency managers to most efficiently prepare the population for tsunami events and improve required evacuation infrastructure.

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Last updated 17 Dec 2019