Kaikoura quake triggered Hawke's Bay slow slips - study

The 7.9-magnitude tremor in Kaikoura last year caused serious damage to the road network.
The 7.9-magnitude tremor in Kaikoura last year caused serious damage to the road network. Photo credit: Newshub.

Researchers believe a new study into the Kaikoura quake could help them develop forecasting tools that can more accurately measure the likelihood of an earthquake.

The 7.8-magnitude tremor in Kaikoura in November last year is said to have sparked a widespread series of 'slow slip events' in Hawke's Bay in the period after.

Slow slip events are a type of slow-motion earthquake that takes place over days or weeks or months, rather than a matter of seconds.

In a new study by the University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, led by Kiwi geophysicist Dr Laura Wallace, a relationship between the two seismic events has been established.

She says the results give them significant insight.

"The slow slip in offshore southern Hawke's Bay did actually trigger quite a lot of small earthquakes in that region - including even larger, up to a magnitude-6.0 that happened in late November," Dr Wallace explained.

"It really helps us realise for the first time that you can actually get large-scale triggering of slow-slip events, extending over a very large region, due to distant earthquakes."

Dr Wallace says the link between the slow-slips and earthquakes may eventually help them predict seismic events.

"[The study] will help us to better understand that relationship - and potentially, in the future, maybe even use these slow-slip earthquakes to improve our forecast of probabilities of earthquakes going forward," she said.

Dr Wallace says research into the two events' links are still not fully known, and will require further research.

Newshub.