It’s All Their Fault!

 

A colleague of The IP clued him in to this great photo of a railroad line in New Zealand that straddled their big quake; it’s a prize winner:

  

Not only is it a great low F-stop composition, it actually captures more than just a local scene.

If you look carefully, that section of rail includes a bridge; the gap the bridge crosses is where that double section of supporting rail is between the main tracks. Only the near side of the tracks are warped, meaning that whatever gap the bridge spans (stream, road, ditch) is the actual fault line. The IP knows this sounds obvious, but he was captivated by the explanatory nature of the shot; this would be a great photo for an earth science book. Imagine; a huge, ginormous mass of land just wrenching apart at a seam; like a giant pair of landscape pants. The IP has gotta locate this location. A prize to the first pithecanthrope to find out where, exactly, in New Zealand, this photo is located at; know what he’s sayin’? 

 

(He’s also betting that Kenneth Buttercup is going to come up with the answer whilst travelling).

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4 Responses to “It’s All Their Fault!”

  1. Lots of people were KILLED in this one, Brain. I was kind of focusing on THAT because I know some New Zealanders online. But thanks for the distraction, I guess.

  2. Kenneth Buttercup Says:

    Far more likely is that the bridge shifted toward the camera, and the rails bent. The bridge is a solid structure.

    But I don’t know!

  3. Tremendous photo.

    @Kenneth Buttercup: I agree that the bridge has shifted toward the camera – you can see the slight upward flex to the bridge rails and the bridge deck ties. Normally, a bridge is very ridgid, but under earthquake stresses, it acts as a stiff beam connecting two flat panels (the abutments). The abutments can pivot and move in many directions, both together and apart.

    There is clear right-lateral (and some left-lateral) movement at the near field abutment. And streams, roads and ditches often follow fault trend lineaments (whether knowingly or unknowingly) – that’s why the stream is where it is. This photo is evidence of the complexity of fault displacements in at least three vectors. The loss of life is tragic, but as a seismic laboratory, this is great stuff.

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