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Open AccessArticle

Effects of Earthquakes on Flood Hazards: A Case Study From Christchurch, New Zealand

School of Earth Sciences, University of Melbourne, Parkville 3010, Australia
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Geosciences 2020, 10(3), 114;
Received: 25 February 2020 / Revised: 19 March 2020 / Accepted: 20 March 2020 / Published: 23 March 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Scientific Assessment of Recent Natural Hazard Events)
Earthquakes can influence flood hazards by altering the flux, volumes, and distributions of surface and/or subsurface waters and causing physical changes to natural and engineered environments (e.g., elevation, topographic relief, permeability) that affect surface and subsurface hydrologic regimes. This paper analyzes how earthquakes increased flood hazards in Christchurch, New Zealand, using empirical observations and seismological data. Between 4 September 2010 and 4 December 2017, this region hosted one moment magnitude (Mw) 7.1 earthquake, 3 earthquakes with Mw ≥ 6, and 31 earthquakes with local magnitude (ML) ≥ 5. Flooding related to liquefaction-induced groundwater pore-water fluid pressure perturbations and groundwater expulsion occurred in at least six earthquakes. Flooding related to shaking-induced ground deformations (e.g., subsidence) occurred in at least four earthquakes. Flooding related to tectonic deformations of the land surface (fault surface rupture and/or folding) occurred in at least two earthquakes. At least eight earthquakes caused damage to surface (e.g., buildings, bridges, roads) and subsurface (e.g., pipelines) infrastructure in areas of liquefaction and/or flooding. Severe liquefaction and associated groundwater-expulsion flooding in vulnerable sediments occurred at peak ground accelerations as low as 0.15 to 0.18 g (proportion of gravity). Expected return times of liquefaction-induced flooding in vulnerable sediments were estimated to be 100 to 500 years using the Christchurch seismic hazard curve, which is consistent with emerging evidence from paleo-liquefaction studies. Liquefaction-induced subsidence of 100 to 250 mm was estimated for 100-year peak ground acceleration return periods in parts of Christchurch. View Full-Text
Keywords: earthquakes; floods; earthquake environmental effects; natural hazards; flood risk earthquakes; floods; earthquake environmental effects; natural hazards; flood risk
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Quigley, M.; Duffy, B. Effects of Earthquakes on Flood Hazards: A Case Study From Christchurch, New Zealand. Geosciences 2020, 10, 114.

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