Lichenometry dating of coseismic changes to a New Zealand landslide complex

W. B. Bull


Lichenometry is a surface-exposure-dating procedure that complements traditional trench-and-date stratigraphic
studies of earthquakes. Lichens on the surficial blocks of a slump in the Seaward Kaikoura Range, South Island,
New Zealand provide precise, accurate (± 2 years) dating of 20 post-landslide rockfall events. The coseismic
character of these rockfall events is apparent when ages of lichen-size peaks are compared with dates of historical
earthquakes. Most local prehistoric lichen-size peaks are synchronous with peaks at other lichenometry
sites in a 20 000 km2 region. Lichenometry may be the best paleoseismic tool for describing the extent and intensity
of seismic shaking caused by prehistoric earthquakes, and for dating earthquakes generated by concealed
thrust faults and subduction fault zones.



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Published by INGV, Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia - ISSN: 2037-416X