Story: Historic earthquakes

Lateral spreading (2nd of 2)

Lateral spreading

Lateral spreading – where the earth literally is pulled apart sideways – occurred in Kaiapoi during the Darfield earthquake, as seen in this parking area of a tavern near the Kaiapoi River. The concrete blocks in the wall at middle left have also separated due to lateral spreading and uneven ground settlement. Kaiapoi was one of the worst-hit areas. Buildings were damaged due to the severe ground shaking combined with the underlying geology of saturated fine sand and silt – which turned into a jelly-like consistency during the earthquake.

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Photograph by Nicola Litchfield

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Historic earthquakes - The 2010 Canterbury (Darfield) earthquake', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/31158/lateral-spreading (accessed 26 April 2019)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 28 Mar 2011, updated 1 Nov 2017