Study into 'lateral spreading' earthquake cracks launched

Last updated 06:32 18/04/2017

Lateral spread at Porritt Park in Wainoni.

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Researchers from the University of Canterbury want to talk to people who remember seeing large, long cracks running parallel to the Avon River or Courtenay Stream following the 2010 and 2011 Christchurch earthquakes. 

A study into the cracks, known as lateral spreading and caused by sediment from liquefaction flowing toward the nearest riverbank, has been funded by research centre QuakeCoRe. 

QuakeCoRe postdoctorate research fellow Dr Sarah Bastin said researchers were especially interested to talk to anyone who saw when the cracks started opening in the ground, and whether they opened suddenly or slowly. 

"If you remember your home being affected by lateral spreading, you fell into a crack, or you remember watching or hearing the cracks open we would be very interested in interviewing you."

Bastin said there were already "quite a few methods" for predicting lateral spread in an earthquake, and the interviews would help check the accuracy of those predications. She can be contacted at

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