Journal article

Anthropocene rockfalls travel farther than prehistoric predecessors

Josh Walter Borella, Mark Quigley, Louise Vick

SCIENCE ADVANCES | AMER ASSOC ADVANCEMENT SCIENCE | Published : 2016

Abstract

Human modification of natural landscapes has influenced surface processes in many settings on Earth. Quantitative data comparing the distribution and behavior of geologic phenomena before and after human arrival are sparse but urgently required to evaluate possible anthropogenic influences on geologic hazards. We conduct field and imagery-based mapping, statistical analysis, and numerical modeling of rockfall boulders triggered by the fatal 2011 Christchurch earthquakes (n = 285) and newly identified prehistoric (Holocene and Pleistocene) boulders (n = 1049). Prehistoric and modern boulders are lithologically equivalent, derived from the same source cliff, and yield consistent power-law freq..

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University of Melbourne Researchers

Grants

Funding Acknowledgements

Financial support for the project came from the Earthquake Commission capability fund for South Island geohazards research. We thank P. C. Almond for his valuable field contributions, D. H. Bell for discussions on paleovegetation related to RAMMS modeling, and GNS Science and Christchurch City Council for Port Hills modern and pre-CES rockfall data.