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Research papers, The University of Auckland Library

This thesis presents an assessment of historic seismic performance of the New Zealand stopbank network from the 1968 Inangahua earthquake through to the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake. An overview of the types of stopbanks and the main aspects of the design and construction of earthen stopbanks was presented. Stopbanks are structures that are widely used on the banks of rivers and other water bodies to protect against the impact of flood events. Earthen stopbanks are found to be the most used for such protection measures. Different stopbank damage or failure modes that may occur due to flooding or earthquake excitation were assessed with a focus on past earthquakes internationally, and examples of these damage and failure modes were presented. Stopbank damage and assessment reports were collated from available reconnaissance literature to develop the first geospatial database of stopbank damage observed in past earthquakes in New Zealand. Damage was observed in four earthquakes over the past 50 years, with a number of earthquakes resulting in no stopbank damage. The damage database therefore focussed on the Edgecumbe, Darfield, Christchurch and Kaikōura earthquakes. Cracking of the crest and liquefaction-induced settlement were the most common forms of damage observed. To understand the seismic demand on the stopbank network in past earthquakes, geospatial analyses were undertaken to approximate the peak ground acceleration (PGA) across the stopbank network for ten large earthquakes that have occurred in New Zealand over the past 50 years. The relationship between the demand, represented by the peak ground acceleration (PGA) and damage is discussed and key trends identified. Comparison of the seismic demand and the distribution of damage suggested that the seismic performance of the New Zealand stopbank network has been generally good across all events considered. Although a significant length of the stopbank networks were exposed to high levels of shaking in past events, the overall damage length was a small percentage of this. The key aspect controlling performance was the performance of the underlying foundation soils and the effect of this on the stopbank structure and stability.