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Professor Emeritus Richard H Sibson

Rick SibsonBSc(Auck) MSc PhD DIC(Lond) FRS FGS FRSNZ

60 Brabant Drive
Mapua 7005, Tasman District
New Zealand

Phone: +64-3-540-3713 (or +64-3-304-8003 - Takamatua)


Current Research

  1. Structural analysis of the 2010-2012 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence.
  2. Seismotectonics of active compressional inversion in NE Honshu and the physical conditions of seismogenesis along subduction megathrusts.
  3. Working with researchers from DPRI in the University of Kyoto and Tohoku University (Sendai) establishing a 50 instrument seismic array in the northern South Island to investigate conditions of seismogenesis in the Buller region of active compressional inversion. A particular focus of this research is establishing the extent to which earthquake rupturing occurs in fluid-overpressured crust
  4. Convenor (with D. Healy, Z. Shipton, and R. Butler) of 'Stress Controls on Faulting, Fracturing and Igneous Intrusion in the Crust' – a meeting commemorating the contributions of Ernest Masson Anderson - held at the University of Glasgow, September 6-8, 2010, now published as 'Faulting, Fracturing, and Igneous Intrusion in the Earth's Crust' (2012), Geol. Soc. Lond Spec. Publ. 367.

Recent Awards and Accolades

  • Awarded the Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society, London in 2010.
  • Given the 2011 Career Contribution Award by the Structure and Tectonics Division of GSA in 2011.
  • Recently invited by the Tectonophysics Division of AGU to give the 2012 Francis Birch Lecture at the Fall Meeting of the American Geophysical Union - talk will be titled 'Inside a Crustal Earthquake - the Rock Evidence'. 

Recent Publications

  • Sibson, R.H. 2005: Hinge-parallel fluid flow in fold-thrust belts: how widespread?  Proceedings of the Geologist’s Association 116, 1-9.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2005: Earthquakes from fault rupture: the scientific impact of the 1855 Wairarapa earthquake. Proceedings of the 1855 Earthquake Symposium, Sept. 8-10, 2005, Te Papa, Wellington, p. 42-48.
  • Begbie, M.J. & Sibson, R.H. 2006. Structural controls on the development of fault-hosted scheelite-gold mineralization in Glenorchy, NW Otago, New Zealand. In, A. Christie & R. Brathwaite (eds.) Mineral Deposits of New Zealand, Aust. Inst. Min. Metall. Mon. 25, 291-298.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2006: Charles Lyell and the 1855 Wairarapa Earthquake in New Zealand: recognition of fault rupture accompanying an earthquake. Seismological Research Letters 77, 358-363.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2006: Au-quartz mineralization near the base of the continental seismogenic zone.  Geological Society, London, Special Publication 272, 521-534.
  • Ghisetti, F. & Sibson, R.H.  2006: Accommodation of compressional inversion in northwestern South Island (New Zealand): old faults versus new? Journal of Structural Geology 28, 1994-2010.
  • Sibson, R.H. & Toy, V. 2006: The habitat of fault-generated pseudotachylyte: presence vs. absence of friction-melt. In, R. Abercrombie, A. McGarr, H. Kanamori, and G. Di Toro (eds.), Radiated Energy and the Physics of Faulting, AGU Geophysical Monograph 170, 153-166.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2007: An episode of fault-valve behaviour during compressional inversion? – the 2004 MJ6.8 Mid-Niigata Prefecture, Japan, earthquake sequence. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 257, 188-199.
  • Ghisetti, F., Gorman, A. & Sibson, R.H. 2007: Surface break-through of a basement fault by repeated seismic slip episodes: the Ostler Fault, South Island, New Zealand. Tectonics, doi:10.1029/2007TC002146.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2008: Geoviolence - Earthquakes as Drivers of Geological Processes, in A Continent on the Move: New Zealand Geoscience into the 21st Century, Graham, I. (ed.), GSNZ Misc. Publ. 24, 377pp.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2009: Rupturing in overpressured crust during compressional inversion: the case from NE Honshu, Japan. Tectonophysics 473, 404-416.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2009: Rupturing in the overpressured crust of NE Honshu – Mesozonal mineralization in the making. 10th Biennial Meeting of SGA (Townsville, Australia), August 16-20, 2009.
  • Barker, S.L.L., Sibson, R.H., Palin, J.M., Fitzgerald, J.D., Reddy, S., Warr, L.N., and van der Pluijm, B.A. 2010: Cretaceous age, composition, and microstructure of pseudotachylyte in the Otago Schist, New Zealand. N.Z. J. Geol. Geophys., 53, 15-29.
  • Fagereng, A, Remitti, F., and Sibson, R.H. 2010: Shear veins observed within anisotropic fabric at high angles to the maximum compressive stress.  Nature Geoscience 3, 482-485.
  • Fagereng, A. and Sibson, R.H. 2010: Mélange rheology and seismic style.  Geology 38, 751-754.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2011. Megathrusts, megavalving, and mineralization: Perturbation of hydrothermal and magmatic flow systems by subduction thrust rupturing. Proceedings 8th International Mining Geology Conference, Queenstown NZ, August 22-24, 2011.
  • Sibson, R.H., Ghisetti, F.C., and Ristau, J. 2011. Stress control of an evolving strike-slip fault system during the 2010-2011 Canterbury, New Zealand, earthquake sequence. Seismological Research Letters 82, 824-832
  • Fagereng, A, Remitti, F., and Sibson, R.H. 2011: Incrementally developed slickenfibers – geological record of repeating low stress-drop seismic events.  Tectonophysics 510, 381-386.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2011: The scope of earthquake geology. In Geology of the Earthquake Source: A Volume in Honour of Rick Sibson, ed. A. Fagereng, V. Toy, and J. Rowland, Geological Society of London Special Publication 359, 319-331.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2012: Reverse fault rupturing: competition between ‘Andersonian’ and ‘Non-Andersonian’ orientations. In: Faulting, Fracturing and Igneous Intrusion in the Earth’s Crust, ed. D. Healy, R.W.H. Butler, Z.K. Shipton, and R.H. Sibson, Geological Society, London, Special Publication 367, 39-50.
  • Sibson, R.H., Ghisetti, F.C., and Crookbain, R.A. 2012: ‘Andersonian’ wrench faulting in a regional stress field during the 2010-2011 Canterbury, New Zealand, earthquake sequence. In: Faulting, Fracturing and Igneous Intrusion in the Earth’s Crust, ed. D. Healy, R.W.H. Butler, Z.K. Shipton, and R.H. Sibson, Geological Society, London, Special Publication 367, 7-18.
  • Healy, D., Sibson, R.H., Shipton, Z.K., and Butler, R.W.H. 2012: Stress, faulting, fracturing, and seismicity: the legacy of Ernest Masson Anderson. In: Faulting, Fracturing and Igneous Intrusion in the Earth’s Crust, ed. D. Healy, R.W.H. Butler, Z.K. Shipton, and R.H. Sibson, Geological Society, London, Special Publication 367, 1-6.
  • Sibson, R.H. 2013: Stress switching in subduction fore-arcs: Implications for overpressure containment and strength cycling on megathrusts. Tectonophysics – under review.

Also See Publications

Postgraduate Student Supervision

  • Julie V. Rowland - Hydrothermal Fluid Redistribution in a Magmatic Continental Rift: the Ruaumoko Rift System, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand (2001).
  • Michael J. Begbie - Regional Development of an Extensional Fault-Fracture Network in the Mid-Crust: the Glenorchy Vein Swarm, NW Otago, New Zealand (2003).
  • John G. Scott - Structural Controls on Gold-Quartz Vein Mineralisation in the Otago Schist, New Zealand (2005)
  • Virginia G. Toy - Rheology of the Alpine Fault Mylonite Zone: Deformation at and below the Base of the Seismogenic Zone in a Major Plate Boundary Structure (2007).
  • Ake Fagereng - Subduction Related Fault Processes - Ancient and Active (2009).
  • Caroline Orchiston (jointly with Tourism) - Tourism and Seismic Risk: Perceptions, Preparedness and Resilience in the Zone of the Alpine Fault, Southern Alps, New Zealand (2010).