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Several insights from a decade of earthquake reconnaissance and response in New Zealand

Brendon A. Bradley

Published August 10, 2019, SCEC Contribution #9414, 2019 SCEC Annual Meeting Talk on Mon 1130 (PDF)

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The 22 years from 1987 – 2009 was a forgotten period in the public eye for earthquake events in New Zealand. Contrastingly, the 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquakes and 2016 Kāikoura earthquake caused acute and chronic impacts on the economic and social fabric of New Zealand. In total, 10 individual earthquake events in the past decade caused appreciable damage, requiring regional or national states of emergency to be declared.

Coordinated national scientific reconnaissance and response, with strong international collaboration, has been an essential element through these events and this presentation attempts to convey several insights from first-hand experience throughout such endeavors, which revolve around three themes:

(i) Logistical challenges - avoiding over-exposure of stakeholders and affected parties, coordination mechanisms for low-impact events do not extrapolate easily to high-impact events, and the challenges of unforeseen data access restrictions;
(ii) Public and professional engagement opportunity –complacency, engagement across disciplinary boundaries, and the tension of scientific uncertainty vs. timely science-informed decision making;
(iii) Technological transformations in reconnaissance – near-real time impact assessment, remote sensing and machine learning, the irreplaceable value of first-hand observation for scientific understanding and intrinsic motivation.

Bradley, B. A. (2019, 08). Several insights from a decade of earthquake reconnaissance and response in New Zealand. Oral Presentation at 2019 SCEC Annual Meeting.

Related Projects & Working Groups
Earthquake Engineering Implementation Interface (EEII)