9 Feb 2011

Alpine Fault drilling hailed a success

3:27 pm on 9 February 2011

A project to drill into the Alpine Fault in the South Island has been hailed a success, but it is still too early to release any findings.

The Alpine Fault is the longest active fault in in New Zealand, extending 650km from Blenheim to Milford Sound.

Principal scientist for GNS Science Rupert Sutherland says the aim was to drill bores into rock about 20km north of Franz Josef to learn more about what would happen if the fault ruptures.

Dr Sutherland says the data collection part of the study has been completed, but it will still be some time before it can be turned into useful information on earthquakes.

Two holes were drilled, the cores removed for testing and electrical equipment installed in one of the holes.

The rock samples will be sent to the University of Otago so more information on the structure of the fault can be gleaned.

Scientists will now begin monitoring sensors installed in the holes.