Daily Mail tells Aussies to 'be prepared' for quake in New Zealand

UK tabloid the Daily Mail has bizarrely told Australians to "be prepared" if an "absolutely terrifying" earthquake hits New Zealand.

The post on Facebook came complete with a picture of a country that's quite clearly not Australia.

It links to a story about the Hikurangi subduction zone, which scientists say is capable of producing an earthquake just as strong as the magnitude 9 shake that devastated parts of Japan in 2011.

"This is absolutely terrifying. Australia, be prepared," the curious post read.

The Daily Mail's curious post.
The Daily Mail's curious post. Photo credit: Daily Mail/Facebook

While the paper's critics often refer to it as the 'Daily Fail', at least the story itself - written by one of the paper's Australian correspondents - doesn't make the same mistake.

Foreigners' inability to tell Australia and New Zealand apart was infamously mocked in HBO TV show Flight of the Conchords, and even cited as a reason we should change our flag by former Prime Minister John Key.

Experts last year warned a strong quake on the Alpine Fault, which runs up the length of the South Island, could potentially trigger a wave capable of deluging our neighbours.

The monster quake that hit the South American nation of Chile in 1960 was strong enough to trigger a tsunami that sunk boats moored in Sydney's harbour, ABC News reports. That one measured about magnitude 9.4, at least four times stronger than the 2011 Japan quake and 63,000 times stronger than the February 2011 quake in Christchurch.

But the Hikurangi subduction zone - the focus of the latest warning - is located off the east coast of the North Island, which sits right between the likely epicentre and Australia.

The Daily Mail updated the post after this story was published online.