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Earthquake ground shaking in Wellington

Some mid-rise buildings in central Wellington experienced significant damage because of the magnitude 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake in 2016.

Scientists with 3d map in front of Welilngton skyline. Photo: Margaret Low

The 3D map will guide engineering solutions for Wellington's shaky soil. Photo: Margaret Low

The city’s sedimentary basin, as well as the source of this particular earthquake, had a critical influence on ground motions and damage patterns during the earthquake. 

Using a wealth of new geological and geophysical data, our scientists developed a new 3D geological model of Wellington’s subsurface and updated the city’s geotechnical maps. They discussed the results with interested parties including Wellington City Council, the Earthquake Commission, the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment, and engineering consultancies. 

The model and maps are now being used to guide engineering solutions that accommodate the effect of different soil types on earthquake ground-shaking in Wellington.

Not only will they help us better understand and predict patterns of earthquake ground-shaking, but they will also enable the city to be better prepared to mitigate future damage. 

This project was funded by the Natural Hazards Research Platform and conducted in collaboration with The University of Auckland.