As we were once again reminded in November 2016, New Zealand is a very dynamic country. Being a country with a relatively small area, such a large earthquake will inevitably affect our infrastructure and a wide variety of intensive and non-intensive land use. This provides our industry with a large number of geotechnical challenges, usually at very short notice.
I experienced the hectic organisation of the expert response to the earthquake in the first few days following the event. A full day in a helicopter chasing landslide dams in every catchment between Lewis Pass and Kaikoura was enough for me and I have since focussed on landslide mapping. Despite the strain on our stomachs, those helicopter flights provided us with some fascinating images of the shaken and ruptured ground, and allowed us to identify the areas at greatest risk of sudden flooding. I particularly like the photo above with the debris and vegetated raft entering the braided river.
The following contributions are short descriptions of the work done so far both to characterise the nature and effects of the earthquakes, and to recover from those effects. We have asked the contributors to provide short, clear descriptions of their work with a large focus on photos.
It is clear from these contributions that this was a very complex earthquake, with complex impacts. What we see in the following pages is just a hint of the magnitude of the different challenges that both industry and researchers face. I am grateful to all of the contributors who took time from their very busy schedules to give us some insight into their work. It is certainly a fascinating read.