So i'm Nicola Litchfield. I'm a paleo seismologist at GNS. And so we're here with the team of us studying past earthquakes, so we're down near the beach in Palace Bay which is quite a wild rocky coastline.
So this is an area that has a series of uplifted beach ridges that we think probably uplifted an individual earthquake similar to what happened in the Kaikoura earthquake in 2016.
So the different terrace levels beach ridge levels are picked out by the vegetation there's darker vegetation and the
hollows where it's a bit wetter. The ridges themselves are the beaches but then every so often there's an earthquake
that lifts them up out of the sea and once that happens a new one forms further out, so we have this old one preserved.
So we've had a digger here today to dig a series of pits on each of these beach ridges and the purpose of that is to find shells for dating in here for dating the past earthquakes.
People might remember after the kaikoura earthquake in 2016 that the coast was uplifted and there was lots of stranded Paua and crayfish and shellfish that had died in the earthquake and this is the same thing we're seeing here.
That's great here's an example we found some of these shells in one of these pits and it's going to be really useful
to date the timing of when this ridge was uplifted and the timing of a past earthquake.
The purpose of this work is to figure out the size timing and frequency of past earthquakes by comparing what we find here with other sites and this cook straight area that will tell us what faults have caused these earthquakes and
we're pretty sure that these faults are going to be submarine faults so they will cause tsunami.
This is part of the "it's our fault" program which is a program designed to increase wellington's resilience to natural hazards particularly earthquakes.
So this is a component that's focusing on figuring out the earthquakes on past faults but in particular the hikurangi
So the hikurangi subduction zone is where the pacific plate is diving down beneath the australian plate along this edge of the north island.
Okay so we've just dug this pit. It's freshly dug we haven't started studying it yet but what I think I'm standing in
here is beach deposits. These sandy gravels here, and then it's overlaid by some younger more silty deposits which have come off the hill slopes later.
So although these earthquakes have happened a long time in the past they will happen again in the future so it's really important to understand how big, how often, where they're coming from – so that we can be better prepared for future earthquakes and tsunami.