Kaikoura quake's 21 faultlines could be world record

From Morning Report, 7:10 am on 15 March 2017

Twenty one faultlines ripped apart in the 7.8 Kaikoura earthquake making it one of the most complex quakes anywhere ever.

Two geologists standing in a trench

Russ van Dissen and Jamie Howarth are dwarfed by a rupture in the Kekerengu Fault. Photo: RNZ / Tracy Neal

Initially GNS thought five faults had ruptured - and that was considered a startling number.

But now the scientists know there were at least 21 - which could be a world record for the number of faults rupturing in a single earthquake.

Fourteen of the faults were so violent the land moved by more than a metre.

GNS earthquake geologist Kate Clark  says "the figure of 21 faults rupturing in a single event is a startling number."