High temperature may have loosened rock

Hot weather may be sparking rockfalls

MARC GREENHILL
Last updated 15:05 31/01/2013
Daniel Tobin

Cera's chief geotechnical engineer explains the danger rocks and cliffs still pose to people and property.

port hills std
David Hallett
ROCKFALL RISK: Jan Kupec, chief geotechnical engineer at Cera at a house on the cliff above Peacocks Gallop.
rockfall std2
David Hallett
VIEW FROM THE TOP: Looking down the cliff above Peacocks Gallop in the Port Hills.

Relevant offers

Christchurch earthquake

Community use and greenery at heart of Waimak red zone vision Quake-hit bar reopens: 'My brother would have wanted me to keep on going' Tree protection change rankles Christchurch residents Traditional buildings possible in Christchurch Christchurch earthquake study gives insight into impacts on children Helicopter demolishes Christchurch clifftop house from the sky Christchurch heritage house on Heberden Ave Sumner, built in 1852, demolished Bridge of Remembrance will be ready for Anzac Day Panel must reconsider cliff collapse properties decision court says Leadership deficiencies in Christchurch Hospital and Central Library projects - report

A 40-tonne boulder that crashed into an empty Port Hills home needed just millimetres of movement to shake loose, geotechnical engineers say.

The van-sized boulder last week smashed through the deck into poles supporting a red-stickered house in Finnsarby Pl in Sumner.

It was the third boulder to hit the property since the February 2011 earthquake.

Aurecon engineering geologist Camilla Gibbons said it was likely temperature changes caused the rockfall, reinforcing the fragility of some Port Hills slopes.

''With all the temperature changes - hot sun during the day and the cold at night - the rocks actually expand an contract,'' she said.

"It just proves how unstable it was because it needed a matter of millimetres to destabilise it.'' 

About three tonnes of debris came down with last week's rockfall, the bulk of which did not reach the house because of vegetation.

''It just reinforces why the section 124 notices [which bar entry to properties] are there, and the fact [rocks] can come down at a moment's notice when you're completely not expecting them,'' Gibbons said.

Ad Feedback

- The Press

Special offers

Featured Promotions

Sponsored Content