2017 – Dam and Foundation Repsonses to the 2016 MW7.8 Kaikōura Earthquake in New Zealand

Andrew Balme, Dan Forster, Tim Logan

The MW7.8 Kaikōura earthquake on 14 November 2016, ruptured over 20 faults during the initial shaking,which lasted nearly two minutes. A complex series of fault ruptures propagated northeast for nearly 180 km from the initial rupture location. Instrumentation from dams across New Zealand shows that whilst most dams did not suffer physical damage, piezometric responses were measured in dams and their foundations. Earthquake related changes in seepage regimes are not unusual and depend on the characteristics of the ground motions,and site specific characteristics that influence how a dam and its foundation respond to ground motions. The ability to measure a piezometric response in a dam or foundation is heavily influenced by the instrumentation network and method of monitoring. Data collected during events such as the Kaikōura earthquake provides valuable information for both characterising performance of a dam during the event, and assisting future analysis such as failure mode assessments. Careful consideration must be given to the scope of installed instrumentation and the frequency of monitoring in order to provide these benefits,and the robustness of the system to ensure it adequately survives the event.

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