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Episodes 2011; 34(1): 51-56

Published online March 1, 2011


Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Harold Wellman and the Alpine Fault of New Zealand

Simon Nathan

Emeritus scientist, GNS Science, P.O. Box 30-368, Lower Hutt, New Zealand. E-mail: s.nathan@xtra.co.nz

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The name of Harold Wellman (Fig. 1) is closely associated with the Alpine Fault of New Zealand as well as the study of strike-slip faults world wide. After recognising the Alpine Fault in 1941-42, Wellman continued to study it for the next 40 years, and this paper traces the evolution of his ideas on a huge fault that is now recognised as part of a major plate boundary.