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The Canterbury Earthquakes: Scientific answers to critical questions

2011: The Prime Minister’s Chief Science Advisor, Professor Sir Peter Gluckman, and the Royal Society of New Zealand worked with the New Zealand science community to help with public understanding about earthquake prediction and future earthquake risks for Christchurch and New Zealand as a whole.

Download the information paper here


Commenting on the paper, Sir Peter Gluckman said: “There is understandably a lot of interest and concern around Christchurch’s recent and future tectonic events. There is a wide range of scientific effort already underway and being planned to help Christchurch and New Zealand as a whole to design, plan and build the engineering needed to deal with the risks we face.”

The information paper is based on expertise from a range of specialist groups working in this area including the University of Canterbury, GNS Science, Victoria University of Wellington, and the Natural Hazards Platform, a collaborative research programme hosted by GNS Science. It is designed to provide answers to concerns about the Christchurch earthquake and the risks for the future.

Professor Keith Hunter, Vice-President of the Royal Society of New Zealand said: “The Royal Society of New Zealand was set up to provide independent expert advice to the Government and the community, as one of its functions, and we are glad to be able to help in this way at this time of national need. We are hoping that by bringing together information from a range of sources that some of the questions and concerns people have will be answered.”

The information paper provides details about earthquake prediction, the science of earthquakes, likely future activity, and the current and future science effort.

Experts contributing to the paper included:

  • Professor Tim Stern, Professor of Geophysics, Victoria University of Wellington
  • Dr Kelvin Berryman, Principal Scientist, Manager, Natural Hazards Research Platform, GNS Science
  • Professor Kevin Furlong, Geodynamics Research Group, Geosciences Penn State
  • Dr Mark Quigley, Senior Lecturer in Active Tectonics and Geomorphology Department of Geological Sciences, University of Canterbury
  • Associate Professor John Townend, EQC Fellow in Seismic Studies, School of Geography, Environment, and Earth Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington.
  • Dr Terry Webb, General Manager, Natural Hazards, GNS Science
  • Dr Matt Gerstenberger, Seismologist, GNS Science
  • Dr Alex Malahoff, Chief Executive, GNS Science

Except for figures and logos, this paper is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 New Zealand Licence.