Hydraulic and acoustic properties of the active Alpine Fault, New Zealand: Laboratory measurements on DFDP-1 drill core Academic Article uri icon


  • We report on laboratory measurements of permeability and elastic wavespeed for a suite of samples obtained by drilling across the active Alpine Fault on the South Island of New Zealand, as part of the first phase of the Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP-1). We find that clay-rich cataclasite and principal slip zone (PSZ) samples exhibit low permeabilities (10-18m2), and that the permeability of hanging-wall cataclasites increases (from c. 10-18 m2 to 10-15 m2) with distance from the fault. Additionally, the PSZ exhibits a markedly lower P-wave velocity and Young's modulus relative to the wall rocks. Our laboratory data are in good agreement with in situ wireline logging measurements and are consistent with the identification of an alteration zone surrounding the PSZ defined by observations of core samples. The properties of this zone and the low permeability of the PSZ likely govern transient hydrologic processes during earthquake slip, including thermal pressurization and dilatancy strengthening. 2013 Elsevier B.V.

published proceedings

  • Earth and Planetary Science Letters

author list (cited authors)

  • Carpenter, B. M., Kitajima, H., Sutherland, R., Townend, J., Toy, V. G., & Saffer, D. M.

complete list of authors

  • Carpenter, BM||Kitajima, H||Sutherland, R||Townend, J||Toy, VG||Saffer, DM

publication date

  • January 1, 2014 11:11 AM