Home' Greymouth Star : June 26th 2014 Contents Greymouth Star
4 - Thursday, June 26, 2014
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uLetters to the editor
1284 - One hundred and thirty children in
the German city of Hamelin mysteriously
disappear. The reasons behind the event are
obscured by legend, including that of the
Pied Piper, who lured them away in revenge
for not being paid for clearing the town of
1810 - Death of Joseph Michel Montgolfier,
Frenchman jointly credited with the invention
of the hot air balloon.
1906 - First Grand Prix motor-race is held
over two days at Le Mans, France.
1917 - First troops of the American
Expeditionary Force arrive in France during
World War One.
1945 - Charter establishing United
Nations is signed in San Francisco
by 50 nations.
1977 - Elvis Presley performs his
final concert at Indianapolis; he died
two months later.
1989 - Soviet nuclear submarine
carrying atomic weapons is crippled
off the coast of Nor way when a pipe bursts in
uWest Coast yesteryear
uToday in history
Charles Messier, French astrologer (1730-
1817); George Morland, English artist
(1763-1804); Baron William Homson Kelvin,
English physicist (1824-1907); Robert Borden,
Canadian prime minister (1854-1937); Pearl
Buck, US novelist (1892-1973);
Wilhelm Messerschmitt, German
aircraft designer (1898-1978); Peter
Lorre, Hungarian actor (1904-1964);
Eleanor Parker, US actor (1922-
2013); June Bronhill, Australian
singer-actor (1929-2005); Georgie
Fame, English singer-musician
(1943-); Gary Gilmour, Australian cricketer
(1951-2014); Robert Davi, US Profiler actor
(1951-); Mick Jones, British singer of The
Clash and Big Audio Dynamite fame (1955-
); Chris Isaak, US singer (1956-); Chris
O’Donnell, US actor (1970-); Jai Taurima,
Australian Olympic long-jumper (1972-);
Gretchen Wilson, US country singer (1973-);
Jason Schwartzman, US actor (1980-); Urgyen
Trinley Dorje, Tibetan spiritual leader (1985-);
Irv Gotti, American record producer (1970-).
“ When a diplomat says yes, he means
perhaps; when he says perhaps, he means no;
when he says no, he is no diplomat.”
“ I am the Good Shepherd.” — John 10:11
has lost its second
harbourmaster in as
many months. This morning captain Henry
Maurice Hughes died here after a brief illness.
He was only recently appointed harbourmaster
following the death of captain William Harle
The death of captain Hughes came as a big
blow to the board.
He was born at Napier 60 years ago. In
1939 captain Hughes took up the position as
signalman with the Greymouth Harbour Board
and was appointed deputy harbourmaster a few
Besides his wife Lillian, captain Hughes
is sur vived by one son John; four daughters,
Pat, Alison, Maureen and Beverly; and 14
The West Coast Basketball Association has
voiced strong criticism of the condition of the
access road to the War Memorial Park courts.
At a meeting of the association last night it was
stated that the road was in such a condition
that if it deteriorated any more, basketballers
would need gumboots or the like to go to the
Members said they were concerned about
what they described as atrocioua conditions
and said it was unfair to expect the girls to have
to tolerate such lagoon-like access.
This morning fire caused £1500 of damage
to the front section of the Army Department ’s
L-shaped headquarters and hall in Gresson
Street, venue for the South Island men’s
B-grade indoor basketball championships, due
to start tomorrow.
Early this afternoon it was confirmed by the
officer-in-charge, lieutenant J Cameron, that
the games would be able to go on as planned.
uFood for thought
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hat is the Deep Fault
The Deep Fault
(DFDP) is an
international science project studying
the Alpine Fault in the western South
Island. It fills a knowledge gap for the
international science community trying
to understand earthquake processes.
It will sample rock types, physical
properties, and ambient conditions of an
earthquake-generating fault that is late
in its earthquake cycle and due to fail in
a large earthquake. The drilling project
is important to New Zealand because
it will provide scientific data to inform
analysis of the largest seismic hazard in
South Island. It should enable scientists
to develop better models of earthquake-
shaking and monitoring equipment
inserted inside the drill hole may inform
future warning systems or time-varying
2. What is DFDP-2?
DFDP-2 refers to the second phase of
the Deep Fault Drilling Project and to the
1.3km-deep borehole that is intended to
be drilled during this phase of the project.
3. Who is involved in this project?
DFDP is led by Dr Rupert Sutherland
(GNS Science), Dr John Townend
(Victoria University of Wellington) and
Dr Virginia Toy (University of Otago)
and involves researchers and students from
more than a dozen organisations in New
Zealand, Canada, France, Germany, Japan,
the United Kingdom, and the United
4. How is the Deep Fault Drilling
DFDP’s two main funding bodies are the
Marsden Fund of the Royal Society of New
Zealand and the International Continental
Scientific Drilling Programme.
5. What is the Alpine Fault?
The Alpine Fault forms part of the
boundary between the Australian and
Pacific Plates in southern New Zealand.
It is visible from space as a more-or-less
straight line delineating the western side
of the Southern Alps.
6. What is so special about the Alpine
Fault? Why is the international scientific
There are several reasons why the
Alpine Fault is a globally important
focus of research into earthquake and
faulting processes. As the Alpine Fault
slips, it displaces the rocks on either side
horizontally and vertically. Rocks on the
eastern side of the fault move south-
westwards and upwards each time the
fault slips. The net result of this type of
slip is that, over time, rocks that were
deeply buried beneath the Southern Alps
are exhumed to the earth’s surface. In fact,
this exhumation takes place so rapidly (in
geological terms) that the rocks do not
have time to cool and many temperature-
controlled processes that normally occur
at great depth persist to much shallower
depths. By studying these processes and
the mineralogical and structural signatures
they leave behind, scientists can learn
about how the Alpine Fault behaves at
the depths at which earthquakes nucleate
Using rock and fluid samples collected
from boreholes, we can study pristine
materials that have not been modified
by weathering processes occurring at the
In other words, drilling enables us to
see through the effects of near-surface
weathering and erosion.
Furthermore, the Alpine Fault dips
downward into the earth at an angle
of about 45 degrees. This means that
a vertical borehole can be drilled to
penetrate the fault more easily and less
expensively than in the case of a vertical
fault such as the San Andreas Fault, which
has been a target of past scientific drilling
7. Where can I actually see the Alpine
In the township of Franz Josef Glacier,
the fault crosses State highway 6
diagonally and runs past the petrol station
at the southern end of town. Where
it crosses the road, it can be seen as a
slight rise of about 3 cm. There is also a
spectacular exposure of the fault at Gaunt
Creek, south-east of Whataroa. The
landowners run tours to this site (http://
8. What do you hope to find that you
don’t know already?
What geologists and geophysicists
worldwide want to better understand is
how faults such as this one are loaded to
the point of failure in an earthquake, and
in particular what stresses, fluid pressures,
and temperatures exist at the point of
earthquake nucleation (initiation).
9. Where is drilling taking place?
The first phase of the Deep Fault
Drilling Project was completed in
February 2011 with the completion of two
shallow boreholes intersecting the Alpine
Fault at Gaunt Creek, near Whataroa. The
second phase of the project, DFDP-2, will
take place on farmland in the Whataroa
River valley, upstream from the State
highway 6 bridge.
10. Has this project been peer-reviewed?
Yes, there has been extensive expert
review of different aspects of the project
since it first began in 2008.
11. What will the environmental impacts
of this project be?
This project will not have any significant
environmental impact. We will not be
using oil-based drilling fluids or fracking
techniques employed in the petroleum
industry. The issue of whether earthquakes
could be induced by DFDP-2 drilling has
been independently reviewed by an expert
12. Has this sort of drilling into a big
plate boundary fault been done before?
Yes in several countries.
13. Will results of DFDP-2 be available
to the public?
We anticipate strong media and public
interest in DFDP-2 as the drilling and
measurement programmes proceed. In
addition to media coverage, the science
team will be providing regular updates
via this project website, and the website
hosted by the International Scientific
Drilling Program (ICDP): http://www.
We will also give public talks in
Whataroa and nearby communities during
and after the drilling operations
15. What equipment will be used in
the drilling? The uppermost 100m of
DFDP-2 will be drilled using a pneumatic
system that drives steel casing through the
shallow gravel layers.
16. What samples will be collected and
how will they be analysed?
Geologists will collect rock samples
from the length of the DFDP-2 borehole
for on-site analysis in near-real-time to
determine mineralogical composition (i.e.
rock type) and physical properties (density,
fluid content, electrical resistivity, etc). The
samples will then be packaged and shipped
to the University of Otago in D unedin,
where scientists will undertake further
analysis. Cores retrieved from below 800m
will be scanned using an instrument that
provides a complete photographic image
of the core and then analysed using a
computerised tomography (CT) scanner
at Dunedin Hospital to determine their
17. What sort of measurements will be
made in the DFDP-2 borehole?
A major component of the science plan
involves measuring the physical properties
of rocks that have been drilled through
using sensitive equipment lowered into
the borehole on a winch. We will be
measuring the rocks’ electrical and elastic
properties and the in situ temperatures,
and acquiring 360Â° images of the
borehole wall to study fractures and
18. What sorts of obser vatory equipment
will be installed?
Subject to final decisions being made, the
science team plans to install permanent
pressure, temperature, and seismic
monitoring sensors extending to the
bottom of the DFDP-2 borehole at 1.3km.
19. Can I visit the drill site?
To ensure the safety of the public,
drillers, and scientists, access to the
DFDP-2 drill site will be restricted. It
is intended that once the experiment
has been completed a road-side display
highlighting key results of this research
will be erected.
20. What will be left on the drill site
after the project is finished?
Once the drilling and scientific
activities have finished, a shipping
container will be installed on the drill
site above the borehole. This will house
recording instrumentation and batteries
etc. to enable permanent monitoring
of temperatures, pressures, and seismic
waves recorded on sensors installed in
the borehole. 21. Is the borehole likely to
encounter high-pressure fluids?
During drilling of the DFDP-1
boreholes in 2011, we discovered that
the shallow Alpine Fault ser ves as a very
effective hydraulic barrier that prevents
fluid flowing from one side of the fault
to the other. We found fluid pressures on
either side of the fault to be controlled by
topographic elevation and the water table.
22. When did the Alpine Fault last
rupture in a big earthquake?
The Alpine Fault has not produced a large
earthquake since the arrival of Europeans.
The fault last ruptured about 297 years ago
— m ost likely in 1717 — and produced an
earthquake of about magnitude 8.
23. Can we predict the next big Alpine
Fault earthquake? What is the likelihood
of a large Alpine Fault earthquake
It is not possible to reliably predict
the time, location, or size of individual
earthquakes. However, using
measurements of past earthquakes
and knowledge of the frequencies of
earthquakes of different sizes, it is
possible to calculate the likelihood of an
earthquake of a particular size occurring in
a specific inter val of time. Using the record
of pre-historic Alpine Fault earthquakes
from Lake McKerrow, scientists have
calculated the probability of a large (M8)
earthquake in the next 50 at 30%.
24. How will the next Alpine Fault
earthquake compare to the M7.1 Darfield
earthquake of September 4, 2010?
For every one unit increase in magnitude
(e.g. from M4 to M5) there is about a
30-fold increase in energy release. This
means, for instance, that an Alpine Fault
earthquake of M8.1 would release about
30 times more energy that the Darfield
earthquake of M7.1. An Alpine Fault
earthquake will likely rupture a larger fault
length (several hundreds of kilometres
rather than several tens of kilometres)
over a longer period of time (hundreds of
seconds rather than tens of seconds) and
affect a much larger area than the Darfield
Moreover, it is likely that the aftershock
sequence following an Alpine Fault
earthquake will involve earthquakes of as
much as M7. It is important to remember
that the size of an earthquake is not the
only factor determining its severity, as
has been starkly illustrated by the 2010-
12 Canterbury earthquake sequence
and the much greater effect of the M6.3
Christchurch earthquake than the M7.1
Darfield earthquake five months earlier.
25. Will there be any warning of an
impending Alpine Fault earthquake?
The next big earthquake will almost
certainly occur with no discernible
26. Will drilling into the Alpine Fault
cause a large earthquake?
No, for several reasons. The volume
of rock affected by drilling is extremely
small (with dimensions of the order of
a few metres) compared to the scale of
the Alpine Fault itself (with dimensions
on the orders of tens to hundreds of
kilometres), and the depth of penetration
(1.3km) is very shallow compared to
the depths at which most earthquakes
nucleate (several kilometres).
Let us talk about power — and its price.
For nothing done in the realm of politics
is without consequence.
Let us talk about the Egyptian judge
who, a few days ago, sentenced three
journalists, employees of the Qatar-based
news ser vice, Al-Jazeera, to seven years
imprisonment for “spreading false news”.
The judge’s name is Mohamed Nagui
Shehatta. The photograph of him, posted
on the BBC website, shows a man bearing
a frightening resemblance to Saddam
Hussein. There are the same flaccid
jowls, the same drooping moustache, the
same habit of wearing aviator sunglasses
It is a cruel face that Judge Shehatta
presents to the world. Its limp flesh
displaying all that is required to condemn
three innocent men to seven years in
a fetid prison cell: bland subser vience
to those in authority, contempt for
subordinates, and a complete absence of
The Arab Spring was supposed to have
purged Egypt of such men. The tens of
thousands of young men and women
who gathered in Cairo’s Tahrir Square to
put an end to the despotic rule of Hosni
Mubarak had looked for ward to a day
when the Egyptian people’s freedom
of expression would be guarded by an
independent judiciary. Judges dedicated to
upholding the rule of law — not the rule
Tragically, the revolution those young
Egyptians so bravely willed into being
was an illusion. The soldiers and their
corrupt accomplices in the civil ser vice and
judiciary had co-operated with the masses
to prevent the establishment of a Mubarak
dynasty. But an Egyptian democracy was
never part of their plans. The momentum
of Egypt ’s Arab Spring was sufficient to
give the country a new constitution and
its first democratic elections. It was not
strong enough to sweep away the power of
the military and their retainers.
The moment President Morsi and his
Muslim Brotherhood attempted to reform
the judiciary (the crucial preparatory
step towards finally ending the power of
the generals) a new military strongman,
General Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, set in
motion the coup d’etat that he had been
personally responsible for planning.
That General Sisi’s coup did not unleash
a new revolution speaks eloquently of
the Egyptian people’s failure to grasp the
meaning of democracy.
The Muslim Brotherhood had won the
presidency and taken control of Egypt’s
Parliament not because it represented a
majority of the population, but because
its political opponents were hopelessly
divided. What finally united them,
paradoxically, was Morsi’s victory.
Unwilling to abide by the constitution
they had won for themselves only months
before, the anti-Morsi majority turned
to the same soldiers who had protected
them from Mubarak’s vengeance in
Tahrir Square and demanded that they
remove the democratically elected Muslim
Brotherhood from office.
Like Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak before
him, General Sisi was only too happy to
There was no need for across-the-board
repression on the Egyptian army ’s part
because the Egyptian masses were once
again under its spell. As the sinew and
muscle of the nation, Egypt ’s military
forces were already being hailed as
the sovereign people in uniform; the
representative principle under arms.
The State was the army and the army
the State. Overnight, the Muslim
Brotherhood ceased to be a democratic,
movement of Egyptian citizens, and
became instead an alien force dedicated
to the nation’s destruction: the enemy
General Sisi shot them down like dogs
— a nd a majority of Egyptians cheered
Judge Shehatta and his judicial brothers-
in-arms may be cruel, lacking in moral
fibre and subser vient to the will of their
superiors, but it is hard to argue that their
judgments are inconsistent with the will
of their fellow citizens. The very same
sovereign Egyptian people who, only
a matter of weeks ago, elected General
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi President of the Arab
Republic of Egypt by an over whelming
In the view of this over whelming
majority, Al-Jazeera is nothing but a
mouthpiece for the despised traitor
Morsi’s supporters in Qatar: friends of
the enemy within. For spreading the “false
news” that the Egyptian people have
betrayed their own democratic revolution,
most of Judge Shehatta’s countrymen
would probably consider seven years to be
a very light sentence. Considering the fact
that his brother judges have imposed the
death penalty for publicly supporting the
deposed president ’s cause, they’re probably
In Egypt, freedom has always been the
price of power.
Chris Trotter is an independent
When injustice is the people’s will
Drilling the faultline
In October, a New Zealand-led international science team will begin drilling a 1.3km-
deep hole into the Alpine Fault near Whataroa to find out more about the inner
workings of the faultline, and the earthquakes it produces.
Geological and Nuclear Science (GNS) answers questions about the project.
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