Story: Active faults

Sideways movement on the Hope Fault

Sideways movement on the Hope Fault

An earthquake in North Canterbury on 1 September 1888 caused a fracture along a 30-kilometre section of the Hope Fault. The sideways (transcurrent) movement of 2.5 metres is marked by the offset fence, which was broken by the quake but later repaired. This photograph was taken later by the geologist Alexander McKay, whose son William is standing alongside for scale. Because it was then thought that only vertical movements took place across faults, McKay’s observations were dismissed for many years as an oddity.

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GNS Science
Reference: 4852
Photograph by Alexander McKay

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney, 'Active faults - What is an active fault?', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 4 December 2023)

Story by Eileen McSaveney, published 12 Jun 2006, reviewed & revised 1 Aug 2017