Jul 23, 2019 | Updated: 09:13 AM EDT

Earthquakes Have Been Shaking Up New Zealand’s Water System

Mar 15, 2017 05:06 AM EDT

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Severe Weather In Wellington In Aftermath of Earthquake
(Photo : Hagen Hopkins/Getty Images) WELLINGTON, NEW ZEALAND - NOVEMBER 15: Flood water covers the road surface on Udy Street, Petone, after a bout of severe weather on November 15, 2016 in Wellington, New Zealand. Wellington has been hit by torrential rain and gale-forced winds in the wake of the earthquakes, which killed two people.

A recent study has found out that there are different effects brought about by earthquakes in New Zealand's water system. Research from the Victoria University of Wellington and GNS Science has found out that there are hydrological effects from the earthquakes.

The thesis has shed a light about the impact of earthquakes on New Zealand's water system hundreds of kilometers away. The information was from a large hydrological data set that has recorded how groundwater systems respond to many earthquakes that have take place in the region over the last many years. Grant O'Brien is the first one who studied the effects of earthquake shaking on susceptible groundwater systems.

 The data set is really rare in international size and scope. It is also different in terms of spanning diverse sites and numerous earthquakes over such a long period of time, 23 years. "This means we have been able to construct a detailed picture of the behavior of different groundwater systems in response to earthquakes, ongoing engineering activities and other factors such as intense rainfall," explained Mr. O'Brien, in the thesis published online at the Victoria University of Wellington.

The study, which was published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, has shown the vulnerability of New Zealand's water system to seismic waves or earthquakes at far distances and areas out of the obvious shaking and surface ground damage. The research also showed that New Zealand's water system that was part of the seven large landslides in the Cromwell Gorge is surprisingly at risk. Even though it is hundreds of kilometers away, it is still affected by seismic activities or earthquakes, stated O'Brien.

The difference in duration, amount and frequency also affects the New Zealand's water system differently. The long-duration ones with broad range frequencies cause bigger groundwater reaction, but it also dies after some time. Unlike the short earthquakes and sharp earthquakes, they cause smaller effects but they stay longer. The recent 7.6 magnitude earthquake that shook New Zealand, like what BBC reported, is not yet part of the study.

The study will definitely change how New Zealand will look at their ground water. New Zealand's water system like dams, irrigations and others will need to be constructed better as even earthquakes from far away affects it.

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