Abstract

Dextral slip at the western end of the east-west–striking Greendale fault during the 2010 MW 7.1 Darfield earthquake transferred onto a northwest-trending segment, across an apparent transtensional zone, here named the Waterford releasing bend. We used detailed surface mapping, differential analysis of pre- and postearthquake light detection and ranging (LiDAR), and property boundary (cadastral) resurveying to produce high-resolution (centimeter-scale) estimates of coseismic ground-surface displacements across the Waterford releasing bend. Our results indicate that the change in orientation on the Greendale fault incorporates elements of a large-scale releasing bend (from the viewpoint of westward motion on the south side of the fault) as well as a smaller-scale restraining stepover (from the viewpoint of southeastward motion on the north side of the fault). These factors result in the Waterford releasing bend exhibiting a decrease in displacement to near zero at the change in strike, and the presence within the overall releasing bend of a nested, localized restraining stepover with contractional bulging. The exceptional detail of surface deformation and kinematics obtained from this contemporary surface-rupture event illustrates the value of multimethod investigations. Our data provide insights into strike-slip fault bend kinematics, and into the potentially subtle but important structures that may be present at bends on historic and prehistoric rupture traces.

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