The Wairarapa Fault is one of New Zealand's large active faults running along the eastern edge of the Rimutaka range from Palliser Bay north into the Wairarapa. It was responsible for the massive magnitude 8.2 earthquake that violently shook the lower North Island in 1855 in New Zealand's largest historically recorded 'quake.
This Google Earth view shows the surface trace of the fault, with the Rimutaka Range to the west and the Tararuas in the distance. An interesting location called Pigeon Bush is indicated by the red circle. It is about 50 kilometres north-east of Wellington City.
We also measured the offset of the older stream channel which was about 15 metres away from the first beheaded channel.This previous earthquake is thought to have occurred about 1000 years ago. The average repeat interval for ruptures of the Wairarapa Fault is thought to be about 1200 years.
A view of the fault itself can be seen in a cutting of the Ruamahanga River near Masterton, about 45 kilometres further north than Pigeon Bush. In the photo you can see how older grey rock on the right (west) have been pushed up relative to the younger gravels on the left (east) in a reverse fault. The substantial horizontal movement may also have caused this juxtaposition of older rocks against younger ones.Phillip Robinson is inspecting the older shattered greywacke rocks that have been thrust over the gravels from the west (left), tilting the relatively young 50 000 year old gravel layers from a horizontal to a vertical orientation.
this previous post to learn about the amazing uplifted beaches at Turakirae Head.