GeoNet's earthquake predictions for New Zealand

Central New Zealand faces up to a 60 percent chance of a large earthquake within the next decade, GeoNet warns.

The geological monitoring agency says while a large earthquake next year is "very unlikely", the odds have increased since before the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake.

"We estimate that there is a two percent to 14 percent chance - in verbal likelihood terms this is a very unlikely chance - of a magnitude 7 or above earthquake occurring within the next year in central New Zealand," GeoNet says.

"Our best estimate is a 6 percent (very unlikely) chance, which is about a one in 16 chance."

It says this likelihood has decreased down from 20 percent in 2016, however "it is still a higher chance than before the 2016 Kaikōura earthquake".

The area inside the yellow box indicates the area of the earthquake forecasts referred to in this story.
The area inside the yellow box indicates the area of the earthquake forecasts referred to in this story. Photo credit: GeoNet

These odds increase in the long run, according to the forecasts.

"Within the next 10 years, there is a 10 percent to 60 percent chance (best estimate is 30 percent, unlikely) of a magnitude 7 or higher earthquake occurring in the area," GeoNet states.

GeoNet's scientists worked with a group of highly experienced international colleagues to calculate the likelihood of another earthquake, and they warn a major earthquake would affect all of New Zealand.

"Our beautiful country sits on top of a tectonic plate boundary. The forces involved in the collision of the two plates are huge and because of this we get a lot of earthquakes, some of them big," GeoNet says.

"A major event almost anywhere in the country would affect the whole society and economy because of the small size of the country and the interdependencies of infrastructure, logistics and business."

Newshub.