The country of New Zealand is
listed among the earth’s most active places for
seismic activity. Earthquakes happen there more
often and continuously.
Seismic activity together
with volcanism is the result of plate tectonics and
New Zealand is located on the active boundary of the
Australian and Pacific tectonic plates.
Movements of the crust of the earth along faults
that are active result in tectonic activities and
earthquakes. The Alpine Fault along with other
active faults of New Zealand, are some of the
earth’s major geological areas.
Earthquakes happen often along these faults, although many
of these are not felt because they are not strong enough.
Still, several others, although stronger, do not cause
damage. Nevertheless, New Zealand still has a record of
severe damage and injury as the result of greater
Throughout the geological history of New Zealand, activities
of the crust of the earth and earthquakes have always
existed. This type of tectonic activity is one of the major
determining factors in the landforms development in New
Zealand. Several lakes, mountain ranges, and coastlines are
just some of these landforms which resulted from tectonic
activity in New Zealand.
Approximately fourteen thousand recorded earthquakes
hit New Zealand every year. Most are too small to be
felt, but about a hundred to a hundred and fifty are
sufficiently intense to be felt.
Several earthquakes happen in the Axial Tectonic
Belt. This is where a lot of the distortion caused
by the impact of the Australian and Pacific tectonic
The active oceanic plates’ subduction is dierectly
responsible for the cavernous earthquakes in the
South Island’s southwest and those of the North
New Zealand’s most active tectonic region is, without a
doubt, the Axial Tectonic Belt. The Axial Tectonic Belt
stretches from both islands of New Zealand, from the eastern
North Island to Marlborough’s Southern Alps in Fiordland.
The Axial Tectonic Belt includes New Zealand’s most
important fault systems such as the Southern Alp’s Alpine
Fault, Marlborough’s Hope Fault, and the Shear Belt in North
Located on the Alpine Fault’s northwest is the
province of Nelson-Westland tectonic. It has a
number of faults and has been subjected to major and
numerous earthquakes in the previous century,
although this is though of as unusual in the
perspective of history.
The Volcanic Zones of Taupo has been New Zealand’s
most active volcanic region since the last million
and a half years. The subduction of the Pacific
plate under the North Island is the culprit for
this. This is a region of high rates of earthquakes
which are shallow, where the crust of the earth has
been thinning and spreading, and along a vast rift
has subsided by 2 to 3 kilometers.
For last twenty five million years, the New Zealand landmass
which is located over the margin between the Pacific and
Australian tectonic plates has been active. The activities
of the plates, and the deformation which results from this
on the crust of the earth, have influenced strongly the
physical shape of New Zealand today, as well as that of many
of its landforms.