Open Access Te Herenga Waka-Victoria University of Wellington
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Modelling geodetic observations of postseismic displacement in the central and southern South Island of New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-16, 03:52 authored by Faegh-Lashgary, Pegah

The last seven years have seen southern New Zealand a ected by several large and damaging earthquakes: the moment magnitude (MW) 7.8 Dusky Sound earthquake on 15 July 2009, the MW 7.1 Dar eld (Canterbury) earthquake on 4 September 2010, and most notably the MW 6.2 Christchurch earthquake on 22 February 2011 and the protracted aftershock sequence. In this thesis, we address the postseismic displacement produced by these earthquakes using methods of satellite-based geodetic measurement, known as Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR) and Global Positioning System (GPS), and computational modelling.  We observe several ground displacement features in the Canterbury and Fiordland regions during three periods: 1) Following the Dusky Sound earthquake; 2) Following the Dar eld earthquake and prior to the Christchurch earthquake; and 3) Following the Christchurch earthquake until February 2015.  The ground displacement associated with postseismic motion following the Dusky Sound earthquake has been measured by continuous and campaign GPS data acquired in August 2009, in conjunction with Di erential Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (DInSAR) observations. We use an afterslip model, estimated by temporal inversion of geodetic data, with combined viscoelastic rebound model to account for the observed spatio-temporal patterns of displacement. The two postseismic processes together induce a signi cant displacement corresponding to principal extensional and contractual strain rates of the order of 10⁻⁷ and 10⁻⁸ yr⁻¹ respectively, across most of the southern South Island.  We also analyse observed postseismic displacement following the Dusky Sound earthquake using a new inversion approach in order to describe afterslip in an elasticviscoelastic medium. We develop a mathematical framework, namely the "Iterative Decoupling of Afterslip and Viscoelastic rebound (IDAV)" method, with which to invert temporally dense and spatially sparse geodetic observations. We examine the IDAV method using both numerical and analytical simulations of Green's functions.  For the post-Dar eld time interval, postseismic signals are measured within approximately one month of the mainshock. The dataset used for the post-Dar eld displacement spans the region surrounding previously unrecognised faults that ruptured during the mainshock. Poroelastic rebound in a multi-layered half-space and dilatancy recovery at shallow depths provide a satisfactory t with the observations.  For the post-Christchurch interval, campaign GPS data acquired in February 2012 to February 2015 in four successive epochs and 66 TerraSAR-X (TSX) SAR acquisitions in descending orbits between March 2011 and May 2014 reveal approximately three years of postseismic displacement. We detect movement away from the satellite of ~ 3 mm/yr in Christchurch and a gradient of displacement of ~ 4 mm/yr across a lineament extending from the westernmost end of the Western Christchurch Fault towards the eastern end of the Greendale East Fault. The postseismic signals following the Christchurch earthquake are mainly accounted for by afterslip models on the subsurface lineament and nearby faults.


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Date of Award



Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Author Retains Copyright

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Degree Grantor

Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy

ANZSRC Type Of Activity code

970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences

Victoria University of Wellington Item Type

Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Townend, John; Williams, Charles; Hamling, Ian