Late Holocene Surface Ruptures on the Southern Wairarapa Fault, New Zealand: Link between Earthquakes and the Raising of Beach Ridges on a Rocky CoastLithosphere (2009)
The Holocene beach ridges at Turakirae Head, New Zealand, are remarkable because the fault that caused their uplift is accessible to paleoseismic trenching. Based on 40 14C samples from eight trenches, we identify five surface-rupturing earthquakes since ca. 5.2 ka (mean earthquake recurrence of 1230 ± 190 yr). The paleoearthquake record includes two more events than were recorded by the uplift and stranding of beach ridges at Turakirae Head. We conclude that beach ridges may provide an incomplete record of paleoearthquakes on oblique-reverse faults. The southern end of the Wairarapa fault includes several splays in the near surface at variable distances from Turakirae Head. Variable partitioning of slip between these splays (and perhaps the subduction interface down-dip of them) is inferred to have caused variable magnitudes of coseismic uplift at the coast, where at least one <3 m throw is not recorded by preservation of a ridge. Variations in wave climate or sediment supply (or interseismic subsidence) may also influence the number of beach ridges preserved by governing the morphology of the storm berm and controlling its extent of landward retreat. Such retreat may cause a berm to overwhelm, or amalgamate with, the next-highest beach ridge, resulting in the omission of one ridge, as probably happened at Turakirae Head at least once. Our 14C data support the view that a widespread post–Last Glacial Maximum aggradational terrace in southern North Island, New Zealand, was abandoned soon after 12.1 cal yr B.P. From this, we infer that the Wairarapa fault has a late Quaternary slip rate of 11 ± 3 mm/yr.
- Holocene beach ridges,
- oblique-reverse faults,
- interseismic subsidence
Citation InformationElizabeth R. Schermer, T. A. Little, R. Van Dissen and R. Carne. "Late Holocene Surface Ruptures on the Southern Wairarapa Fault, New Zealand: Link between Earthquakes and the Raising of Beach Ridges on a Rocky Coast" Lithosphere Vol. 1 Iss. 1 (2009)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/elizabeth_schermer/10/