Large earthquake inevitable from east coast's Hikurangi subduction zone - expert

A top New Zealand scientist says the Hikurangi subduction zone is "building up for something", as experts discussed earthquakes and tsunamis in Napier on Wednesday night.

Dr Kate Clark of the New Zealand Geoscience Society (GNS) was one of four leading scientists to speak to about 600 people at the Napier Conference Centre about the potentially lethal subduction zone, reports NZME.

She said that while research hadn't revealed any large subduction earthquakes occurring along the Hikurangi zone on the North Island's east coast in recent historic times, "it is building up for something in the future".

Dr Clark said it was impossible to predict when the next one will be, but there will be another one.

The possibility of a big quake or tsunami is inevitable as the Pacific and Australian plates continue moving off the east coast, which is not a stranger to large earthquakes.

But Dr Clark said the 1931 Hawke's Bay Earthquake was not a subduction quake but an "upper plate"-driven earthquake, different to the disasters in Chile in 1960 and Sumatra in 2004.

Subduction is the process where one tectonic plate moves under another and into the mantle.

There have reportedly been possibly eight major seismic events, including potential subduction earthquakes, in the Hikurangi section over the last 7000 years, reports NZME.


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