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Kaikoura's 'complicated and unusual' earthquake could've broken world record

November's Kaikoura earthquake could have set the world record for the most number of fault lines rupturing in a single quake.

Earthquake Geologist at GNS Science, Kate Clark, says they've recorded 21 faults that had surface rupture in the magnitude 7.8 shake.

Four months on from the Kaikoura quake and scientists are still discovering the full extent of the damage. Source: 1 NEWS

"Initially we thought five faults had ruptured… it was our first clue that this was going to be quite a complicated and unusual earthquake," she said.

Ms Clark told viewers of a Geonet Facebook Live that the data has been collected through land and air based surveying since the earthquake on November 14 by more than 50 scientists from 10 different institutes.

Landslide caused by Kaikoura earthquake. Source: 1 NEWS

They've documented about 180 kilometres of fault surface throughout the Canterbury, Kaikoura and Marlborough regions, where in places, the ground has been offset by up to two metres vertically.

GNS Science has also been working with NIWA since the earthquake four months ago who have been offshore in their research vessels mapping fault ruptures.

"There were at least six faults that crossed the coastline so NIWA is helping to give a more complete overview," Ms Clark said.

Over the coming months, scientists will continue to map the extent of the ruptures further as they analyse the field data.

"Earthquakes of this size don't happen very often so we try and gather all the information we can about it.

"Learning about the extent of fault rupture and offsets, it can help mitigate for future surface rupture and faults around New Zealand."

Earthquake Geologist at GNS Science, Kate Clark, says they've recorded 21 faults that had surface rupture in the magnitude 7.8 Kaikoura shake. Source: 1 NEWS