Why is NZ earthquake territory?
New Zealand receives frequent earthquakes in a year. Just on February 10, 2011 alone, the country already experienced 4 earthquakes with magnitude ranging from 2.8-4.0. The reason for this is the position of New Zealand in the world’s map. It is located on the border of Australian and Pacific plates which makes it prone to earthquakes.
Looking at the geographical location of New Zealand it belongs in the Pacific Ring of Fire. This is where hundreds of volcanoes, oceanic trenches, and plate movements are located. Almost 90% of the world’s earthquakes happen in the Ring of Fire.
The Ring of Fire houses plate tectonics and collisions of plates. The motion of the plates causes small earthquakes occurring frequently. New Zealand happens to have the strongest concentration of volcanoes. These volcanoes are usually located under the sea. Once these volcanoes, erupt earthquakes can be felt.
Records show that New Zealand experiences 14,000 earthquakes in a year. Some could not be felt but almost a hundred of these earthquakes can be felt. With the use of seismograph, earthquakes in New Zealand can be tallied according to its magnitude and location. The belt stretching from Fiordland to East Cape receives most earthquakes because it is the pattern of the Ring of Fire. The shallow earthquakes are spread throughout the country.
Just recently on September 2010, New Zealand experienced one of its biggest earthquakes after 80 years with a magnitude of 7.1. It occurred around Christchurch. The earthquake caused a lot of damage plus a new fault line. Aftershocks were then felt having magnitude higher than 5. The earthquake was destructive because it is very shallow, only 10 kilometers deep. The city was extremely damaged so a state of emergency was declared. In 1931, a strong earthquake in Napier also destroyed the city having hundreds of people dead.