[DFDP] DFDP - Deep Fault Drilling Project, Alpine Fault, New Zealand

Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP), Alpine Fault, New Zealand: Phase 2 - conditions at 1.5 km depth

Climate & Ecosystems
Plate Margins
Natural Hazards

Year of Application: 2011

Expedition ID: 5052

Current Status: completed

active faults
alpine faults
new zealand
seismogenic zone
Master Data

Dr. Samuel Niedermann (PI)
Prof. Dr. Joerg Erzinger (PI)
Dr. Christoph Janssen (PI)
Prof. Dr. Roland Oberhänsli (PI)
Prof. Dr. Stefan Buske (PI)
Prof. Dr. Achim Kopf (PI)
Dr. Matt Ikari (PI)

Dr. Ulrich Harms (OSG)
Prof. Dr. Uwe Altenberger (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Christoph Janssen (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Martin Timmermann (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Martin Zimmer (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Bernhard Schuck (Scientific Participant)
Vera Lay (Scientific Participant)
Dr. Anja Maria Schleicher (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Georg Dresen (Scientific Participant)
Prof. Dr. Jörg Renner (Scientific Participant)

Projektstart: 15 January, 2011
Projektdauer: 4
Geologisches Alter: Quarternary

Latitude: 43°17'5''S


Regionen & Städte:

South Island
Alpine Fault

Longitude: 170°24'22''E

New Zealand


hard rock

Drilling Data

Drilling Depth: 1353.1
Core Yield: 109.4
Core Length: 135.4
Amount of Drill Holes: 4
Amount of Drill Locations: 2

Core Length-Drill Depth-Ratio: 44.24
Core Yield-Core Length-Ratio: 80.8


Determining what temperatures, stresses, and chemical conditions prevail within active faults is fundamental to understanding how faults evolve and produce earthquakes. The Alpine Fault’s geometry, rapid and precisely-known slip rates, well-studied surface exposures, and >40 years of intensive research make it a site of global importance for research into the mechanics and evolution of large faults and the conditions under which earthquakes occur. Unlike many other major faults, however, the Alpine Fault has not produced large earthquakes in historic times, providing an opportunity to study a major fault late in the cycle of stress accumulation ahead of a future earthquake. Phase 1 of the Deep Fault Drilling Project (January–February 2011) will collect rock cores and wireline logs, and install an observatory in the near-surface of the Alpine Fault (150 m depth). Phase 2 of the project (this proposal) aims to determine ambient conditions on the Alpine Fault beneath near-surface anomalies and, for the first time, to precisely estimate the thermal, stress, and hydraulic states of the Alpine Fault in the mid-crust. The intended fault intersection depth of 1500 m is based upon numerical models that show the thermal, stress, and hydraulic anomalies caused by local topography to be large within 1000–1500 m of the surface. Measurements in the lower part of the borehole, beneath the perturbed zone, will enable us to determine gradients characteristic of greater depths. Measurements in the upper part of the borehole will be used to determine bulk rock properties and hence we will be able to construct 3D thermal and hydraulic models of the near-surface. Fresh rock cores from the fault zone beneath these near-surface effects will provide new insight into the mechanisms of deformation that occur in the mid-crust on a major plate-bounding fault. Finally, the borehole observatory that we will install will provide long-term monitoring of a fault estimated to have a 25% probability of rupture in the next 30 years, providing a unique opportunity to study transient behavior in the event of a large earthquake. We have assembled a large international team of researchers to undertake Alpine Fault drilling and allied research. We are seeking US$1.3M to complete the DFDP-2 phase of research. We have secured the other 50% of the drilling budget from a range of sources.

Related Publications

Lay, Vera, Buske, Stefan, Townend, John, Kellett, Richard, Savage, Martha, Schmitt, Douglas R., Constantinou, Alexis, Eccles, Jennifer D., Gorman, Andrew R., Bertram, Malcolm, Hall, Kevin, Lawton, Don, Kofman, Randolph (2021). "3D Active Source Seismic Imaging of the Alpine Fault Zone and the Whataroa Glacial Valley in New Zealand" Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth

Schuck, B., Schleicher, A.M, Janssen, C., Toy, V.G., Dresen, G. (2020). "Fault zone architecture of a large plate-bounding strike-slip fault: a case study from the Alpine Fault, New Zealand." Solid Earth 11 p95-124

Schuck, B. (2020). "Geomechanical and petrological characterisation of exposed slip zones, Alpine Fault, New Zealand. " Dissertation

Lay, Vera (2020). "Seismic Imaging of the Alpine Fault at Whataroa, New Zealand" Dissertation p193

Lay, V., Buske, S., Bodenburg, S. B., Townend, J., Kellett, R., Savage, M. K., Schmitt, D. R., Constantinou, A., Eccles, J. D., Bertram, M., Hall, K., Lawton, D., Gorman, A. R., Kofman, R. S. (2020). "Seismic P Wave Velocity Model From 3-D Surface and Borehole Seismic Data at the Alpine Fault DFDP-2 Drill Site (Whataroa, New Zealand)" Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth pe2019JB018519

Schuck, B., Janssen, C., Schleicher, A. M., Toy, V. G., Dresen, G. (2018). "Microstructures imply cataclasis and authigenic mineral formation control geomechanical properties of New Zealand's Alpine Fault" Journal of Structural Geology 110 p172-186

Hall, Kevin , Isaac, Helen , Bertram, Malcolm , Bertram, Kevin , Lawton, Don , Constantinou, Alexis , Schmitt, Doug , Kofman, Randy , Eccles, Jennifer , Fromont, Ashleigh , Lay, Vera , Buske, Stefan , Townend, John , Savage, Martha, Gorman,Andrew , Kellett, Richard (2017). "Always finding faults: New Zealand 2016" SEG Technical Program Expanded Abstracts 2017 p17-22

Toy, Virginia Gail, Sutherland, Rupert, Townend, John, Allen, Michael J., Becroft, Leeza, Boles, Austin, Boulton, Carolyn, Carpenter, Brett, Cooper, Alan, Cox, Simon C., Daube, Christopher, Faulkner, Daniel R., Halfpenny, Angela, Kato, Naoki, Keys, Stephen, Kirilova, Martina, Kometani, Yusuke, Little, Timothy, Mariani, Elisabetta, Melosh, Benjamin, Menzies, Catriona D., Morales, Luiz, Morgan, Chance, Mori, Hiroshi, Niemeijer, Andre, Norris, Richard, Prior, David, Sauer, Katrina, Schleicher, Anja M., Shigematsu, Norio, Teagle, Damon A. H., Tobin, Harold, Valdez, Robert, Williams, Jack, Yeo, Samantha, Baratin, Laura-May, Barth, Nicolas, Benson, Adrian, Boese, Carolin, Célérier, Bernard, Chamberlain, Calum J., Conze, Ronald, Coussens, Jamie, Craw, Lisa, Doan, Mai-Linh, Eccles, Jennifer, Grieve, Jason, Grochowski, Julia, Gulley, Anton, Howarth, Jamie, Jacobs, Katrina, Janku-Capova, Lucie, Jeppson, Tamara, Langridge, Robert, Mallyon, Deirdre, Marx, Ray, Massiot, Cécile, Mathewson, Loren, Moore, Josephine, Nishikawa, Osamu, Pooley, Brent, Pyne, Alex, Savage, Martha K., Schmitt, Doug, Taylor-Offord, Sam, Upton, Phaedra, Weaver, Konrad C., Wiersberg, Thomas, Zimmer, Martin (2017). "Bedrock geology of DFDP-2B, central Alpine Fault, New Zealand" New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics 60 p497-518

Sutherland, Rupert, Townend, John, Toy, Virginia, Upton, Phaedra, Coussens, Jamie, Allen, Michael, Baratin, Laura-May, Barth, Nicolas, Becroft, Leeza, Boese, Carolin, Boles, Austin, Boulton, Carolyn, Broderick, Neil G. R., Janku-Capova, Lucie, Carpenter, Brett M., Célérier, Bernard, Chamberlain, Calum, Cooper, Alan, Coutts, Ashley, Cox, Simon, Craw, Lisa, Doan, Mai-Linh, Eccles, Jennifer, Faulkner, Dan, Grieve, Jason, Grochowski, Julia, Gulley, Anton, Hartog, Arthur, Howarth, Jamie, Jacobs, Katrina, Jeppson, Tamara, Kato, Naoki, Keys, Steven, Kirilova, Martina, Kometani, Yusuke, Langridge, Rob, Lin, Weiren, Little, Timothy, Lukacs, Adrienn, Mallyon, Deirdre, Mariani, Elisabetta, Massiot, Cécile, Mathewson, Loren, Melosh, Ben, Menzies, Catriona, Moore, Jo, Morales, Luiz, Morgan, Chance, Mori, Hiroshi, Niemeijer, Andre, Nishikawa, Osamu, Prior, David, Sauer, Katrina, Savage, Martha, Schleicher, Anja, Schmitt, Douglas R., Shigematsu, Norio, Taylor-Offord, Sam, Teagle, Damon, Tobin, Harold, Valdez, Robert, Weaver, Konrad, Wiersberg, Thomas, Williams, Jack, Woodman, Nick, Zimmer, Martin (2017). "Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault" Nature 546 p137

Townend, John , Sutherland, Rupert , Toy, Virginia G. , Doan, Mai-Linh , Celerier, Bernard , Massiot, Cecile , Coussens, Jamie , Jeppson, Tamara , Janku-Capova, Lucie , Remaud, Lea , Upton, Phaedra , Schmitt, Douglas R. , Pezard, Philippe , Williams, Jack , Allen, Michael John , Baratin, Laura-May , Barth, Nicolas , Becroft, Leeza , Boese, Carolin M. , Boulton, Carolyn , Broderick, Neil , Carpenter, Brett , Chamberlain, Calum J. , Cooper, Alan , Coutts, Ashley , Cox, Simon C. , Craw, Lisa , Eccles, Jennifer D. , Faulkner, Dan , Grieve, Jason , Grochowski, Julia , Gulley, Anton , Hartog, Arthur , Henry, Gilles , Howarth, Jamie , Jacobs, Katrina , Kato, Naoki , Keys, Steven , Kirilova, Martina, Kometani, Yusuke , Langridge, Rob , Lin, Weiren , Little, Tim , Lukacs, Adrienn , Mallyon, Deirdre , Mariani, Elisabetta , Mathewson, Loren , Melosh, Ben , Menzies, Catriona , Moore, Jo , Morales, Luis , Mori, Hiroshi , Niemeijer, Andre, Nishikawa, Osamu , Nitsch, Olivier , Paris, Jehanne , Prior, David J. , Sauer, Katrina , Savage, Martha K. , Schleicher, Anja , Shigematsu, Norio , Taylor-Offord, Sam , Teagle, Damon , Tobin, Harold , Valdez, Robert , Weaver, Konrad , Wiersberg, Thomas , Zimmer, Martin (2017). "Petrophysical, Geochemical, and Hydrological Evidence for Extensive Fracture-Mediated Fluid and Heat Transport in the Alpine Fault’s Hanging-Wall Damage Zone" Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 18 p4709-4732

Ikari, Matt J., Kopf, Achim J. (2017). "Seismic potential of weak, near-surface faults revealed at plate tectonic slip rates" Science Advances 3 p1-6

Ikari, Matt J., Carpenter, Brett M., Marone, Chris (2016). "A microphysical interpretation of rate‐ and state‐dependent friction for fault gouge" Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems 17 p1660-1677

Lay, V., Buske, S., Lukács, A., Gorman, A. R., Bannister, S., Schmitt, D. R. (2016). "Advanced seismic imaging techniques characterize the Alpine Fault at Whataroa (New Zealand)" Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 121 p8792-8812

Alexis Constantinou, Douglas Schmitt, Randolf Kofman, Richard Kellett, Jennifer Eccles, Donald Lawton, Malcolm Bertram, Kevin Hall, John Townend, Martha Savage, Stefan Buske, Vera Lay, Andrew Gorman (2016). "Comparison of fiber-optic sensor and borehole seismometer VSP surveys in a scientific borehole: DFDP-2b, Alpine Fault, New Zealand" SEG Technical Program Expanded Abstracts 2016 p5608-5612

Carpenter, Brett M., Ikari, Matt J., Marone, Chris (2016). "Laboratory observations of time-dependent frictional strengthening and stress relaxation in natural and synthetic fault gouges" Journal of Geophysical Research: Solid Earth 121 p1183-1201

Menzies, Catriona D., Teagle, Damon A. H., Niedermann, Samuel, Cox, Simon C., Craw, Dave, Zimmer, Martin, Cooper, Matthew J., Erzinger, Jörg (2016). "The fluid budget of a continental plate boundary fault: Quantification from the Alpine Fault, New Zealand" Earth and Planetary Science Letters 445 p125-135

Ikari, Matt J., Trütner, Sebastian, Carpenter, Brett M., Kopf, Achim J. (2015). "Shear behavior of DFDP-1 borehole samples from the Alpine Fault, New Zealand, under a wide range of experimental conditions" International Journal of Earth Sciences p1523-1535

Kopf, Achim (2013). "Effective strength of incoming sediments and its implications for plate boundary propagation: Nankai and Costa Rica as type examples of accreting vs. erosive convergent margins" Tectonophysics 608 p958-969

Ikari, Matt J., Kopf, Achim J. (2011). "Cohesive strength of clay-rich sediment" Geophysical Research Letters 38 p1-5