Boffins to measure how earth moves for World Cup crowds

Auckland University scientists will monitor how the Earth moves for thousands of fans at Eden Park for the 2011 rugby World Cup.

As part of the stadium's revamp, a 250-metre deep hole will be drilled under the site of the new South Stand to give insights into underground activity, including the impact of large crowds.

The Borehole Instrument Centre for Eden Park (Bicep) would measure seismic activity and vibrations in the ground under the stadium, project head Liam Wotherspoon said.

The information would give a better understanding of how to design large structures to withstand earthquakes, he said.

Scientists at the university's Institute of Earth Science and Engineering would collect and analyse the data.

Mr Wotherspoon said the hole would be directly under the highest point of the stand.

Seismic instruments at different depths along the borehole would give a three-dimensional view of soil and rock movement below Eden Park.

They would also record small earthquakes and other seismic events that might not be able to be measured at the surface.

The readings would provide information for future construction projects that could be affected by seismic movements.

Analysis of the rocks and soil removed during drilling would also add to the picture of Auckland's geologic history.

"As far as we know, Bicep is the first observation centre under a major sporting venue," Mr Wotherspoon said.

"It will be interesting to monitor the effects that crowds at Eden Park have on the ground beneath them."

- NZPA

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