This StoryMap shares a credible science-based hazard scenario for a major Alpine Fault earthquake. Scenarios bring together all our available knowledge to paint a picture of what we might experience so we can be better prepared for it.
*StoryMap is best viewed on a desktop, laptop or tablet, it is not suitable for viewing on mobile phones or small screens.
Movement along the Alpine Fault, with its powerful uplift along the Southern Alps over millions of years, forms the geological foundations for Te Waipounamu our beautiful South Island and the stunning landscape we call home. The more we understand our natural environment and the forces that shape it, the better prepared we can be.
Our Shaky Isles
The short answer is (spoiler alert) no. Research shows that while there are periods of heightened activity, the overall occurrence rates are stable. But let’s take a look at why it might seem like earthquakes are on the rise...
Our Earth is a constantly changing and evolving beast shaped over millions of years by tectonic forces – like earthquakes and volcanoes – and weather. Like our bodies, the events of its long life leave scars and wrinkles, fractures, and wounds at every scale from the mighty mountain ranges to microscopic mineral structures. All of this is evidence to a keen geological eye...
Like the bogeyman lurking in the basement in a horror movie, the next big earthquake hides in our collective conscious – too scary to consider for many. Earthquakes are unpredictable and scary and the impacts of significant past earthquakes are etched into our history. But there is no avoiding it, we live on shaky islands – New Zealand records an average of 20,000 earthquakes each year – and the more we know, the better prepared we can be for the next ‘Big One’, whenever and wherever it comes.