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GNS AF8 (Alpine Fault Magnitude 8) Exercise
Katrina Thomas

GNS AF8 (Alpine Fault Magnitude 8) Exercise

Tuesday 5 December 2023 saw the Alpine Fault rupture with a magnitude 8 earthquake, but no one felt it!

Tuesday 5 December saw the Alpine Fault rupture with a magnitude 8 earthquake which could be felt all the way to Wellington. In Lower Hutt, some of NZ’s best geo-scientists and other teams dropped, covered, and held for two minutes. Of course, given no one else felt the event it can be confidently stated this was an exercise!

The GNS led exercise was one of the largest earthquake based exercises the organisation had undertaken in some time. GNS staff came together to set up an Incident Management Team and to respond to the challenges thrown at them. The earthquake ‘struck’ mid-morning and the exercise wound down shortly before 15:00, having provided a prolonged environment of collaboration and problem solving.

Recently, GNS has been working hard to build a robust framework, integrating the CIMS structure into a science and research realm. Last year they tested early iterations with a magnitude 7 Alpine Fault scenario. Using lessons learnt from that scenario and their new framework, they re-tested their ability to set up and run an IMT for a larger event. This time they wanted to make sure they could also supply data to and respond to requests effectively from NEMA and other external partners as such an event unfolds.

Upon GNS's request, NEMA supported the exercise by providing the Monitoring Alerting and Reporting Team (MAR), National Coordination Centre (NCC), Public Information Management (PIM), and National Controller roles to provide some depth to the collaboration between GNS and its partners. It was a fantastic opportunity to see GNS and NEMA partner up to think about how their own worlds would spin during a response, and how they could sync into a wider, national response. 

It is just the kind of conversations and planning we like to see as we aim for a more resilient emergency management sector: partner agencies testing their procedures together and using their expertise to provide reliable data to support an effective response. 

Learn more about AF8

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