Earth and Environmental Sciences

Geodesy’s Pivotal Role in Understanding the Causes and Consequences of Slow Slip Events: an Example from New Zealand
Laura M. Wallace, University of Texas at Austin

Data from continuously monitoring Global Positioning System (cGPS) networks at plate boundaries around the world have been instrumental in the discovery of slow slip events (SSEs) in the last decade. Unlike earthquakes, SSEs involve slow slip along a fault, taking weeks to months to occur, making SSEs difficult to detect using traditional seismological methods. cGPS networks enable detection of shifts in land movement (a few mm or larger) at plate boundaries during SSEs. One of the most dynamic locales on Earth to investigate SSEs with cGPS is the Hikurangi subduction zone in New Zealand, where the Pacific Plate subducts (or dives down) beneath the eastern North Island. Hikurangi SSEs reveal a unique diversity of SSE slip rates, magnitudes, durations, and recurrence intervals. They accommodate a huge proportion of the overall Pacific/Australia tectonic plate motion, up to 40%. SSEs dramatically impact seismicity rates in the North Island, suggesting that they influence short-term seismic hazard. Although SSEs are now well-documented, scientists still do not understand the physical mechanisms behind them. At Hikurangi, we observe SSEs over a large depth range (

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Earth and Environmental Sciences

Kavli Frontiers of Science PRO

This channel contains session presentations that cover earth science and environmental science topics from the Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series of the National Academy of Sciences.

For additional symposium information, please visit our web


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This channel contains session presentations that cover earth science and environmental science topics from the Kavli Frontiers of Science symposium series of the National Academy of Sciences.

For additional symposium information, please visit our web site (nasonline.org/kfos).

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