Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission Te Komihana Rūwhenua o Waitaha Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission – Te Komihana Rūwhenua o Waitaha

Those who lost relatives and friends in the 22 February earthquake can be assured that there will be a very thorough inquiry into the failure of buildings that resulted in loss of life.
Chair, Justice Mark Cooper

Media Statement

1 September 2011

Quakes Royal Commission Releases Soils Report

The Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission has published another technical report on its website and will hold a public hearing about the report at St Teresa Hall in Riccarton, Christchurch commencing Tuesday 25 October 2011.

The report ‘Foundations on Deep Alluvial Soils’ by University of Canterbury Associate Professor Misko Cubrinovski  and Ian McCahon of Geotech Consulting in Christchurch is relevant to a number of aspects of the Commission's inquiry including seismicity,  the issues relating to the performance of buildings in the Christchurch CBD and new technologies. 

The report discusses the nature of the soils in the Christchurch CBD, and their susceptibility to liquefaction.  It describes the effect of liquefaction in the Canterbury earthquakes on CBD buildings of different foundation types, identifies foundation types and land improvement measures suitable for buildings on deep alluvial soils, and discusses the importance of appropriate field investigations and the need for a holistic design approach that takes into account soil conditions, and foundation and structure systems. 

Professor Jonathan Bray of the University of California at Berkeley is peer reviewing the report to ensure that advice given to the Commission reflects international understandings and best practice.

The Commission has requested that any evidence or submissions on the issues discussed in the report be provided in electronic form by Friday 7 October 2011.  The evidence and submissions will be published on the Commission’s website unless there are compelling reasons not to do so.


 About the ‘Foundations on Deep Alluvial Soils’ Report

Principle author Associate Professor Misko Cubrinovski advises that the information in the report has not been published in the general news media. There are a couple of exceptions:

Isolated segments/information: A version of the map shown in Figure 9 was published in The Press in March. There was also an article on the impacts of a potential Alpine Fault earthquake on Christchurch (presented in Section 6 of the report), again published in The Press in August.

On 3 August Associate Professor Misko Cubrinovski gave a public lecture on the impacts of soils liquefaction in the Christchurch earthquakes. The video is available at the University of Canterbury website:


Contacting Associate Professor Misko Cubrinovski

Associate Professor Misko Cubrinovski is in Europe and will not return to Christchurch until 18 September. Please contact him via email or mobile phone 027-723-5009. The best time to call is 7pm - 9pm NZ time.

Royal Commission Media Contact 

Robin Major
Senior Communications Advisor
Canterbury Earthquakes Royal Commission
Phone +64 3 7413004 or +64 21 621 656