Investigating Potential Earthquake Triggers for the Exceptionally Large Green Lake Rock Avalanche, New Zealand, through Fuzzy Logic GIS Based Landslide Susceptibility Modeling
Thursday, 18 December 2014
Coseismic landslide modeling of the Fiordland region of New Zealand explores potential triggers for the Green Lake rock avalanche (GLRA). The GLRA, which occurred post-deglaciation ~14,000 years ago, contains 27 km3 of debris, making it the largest identified landslide in New Zealand and one of the largest on Earth. Due to its large volume, the GLRA was most likely coseismically triggered. The only work to- date suggests MM IX-X shaking from an Alpine Fault event initiated collapse. However, as the Alpine Fault is >80 km from the GLRA, such high shaking intensities seem improbable. Coseismic landslide susceptibility was thus modeled using fuzzy logic and GIS for a number of potential earthquake scenarios to identify a more likely trigger. Existing coseismic landslide inventories for the 2003 and 2009 Fiordland earthquakes were used to determine relationships between landslide occurrence, slope angle, proximity to faults and streams, slope position, and shaking intensity. Slope position and proximity to streams were not found to correlate with the formation of landslides, leaving shaking intensity, slope angle, and proximity to faults to be used in the final models. Modeled earthquake scenarios include a M8.0 southern Alpine Fault rupture, a M8.0 Puysegur Trench earthquake, and a M7.0 on the nearby Hauroko Fault. Coseismic landslide susceptibility is highest at Green Lake for the Hauroko Fault earthquake, reaching values of >0.9 compared to ~0.5 and ~0.6 for the Alpine Fault and Puysegur Trench earthquakes. Consequently, we infer that the GLRA was potentially initiated by a large (M~7) earthquake on the Hauroko Fault and not an M8 Alpine Fault earthquake. This suggests that seismic hazard in the Southern Alps is not limited to the plate boundary.