New Zealand is faulty! Geddit? But really, if I’m writing about New Zealand-related stuff, I should probably mention earthquakes. As it turns out, there is a downside to living in this country, and it looks like this:
New Zealand is only here because we are sitting on top of the edges of two massive tectonic plates. Where they meet, they are crushing together with such force that they are pushing the land up. If you want to get technical on the tectonics, this particular fault is called a right-lateral strike-slip fault. No, I had no idea what this means either. But I did some research, just for you. It means that the fault also caused the land to move on the horizontal plane, as well as vertically. The right side of the fault moved south, and the left side moved north. This is why the same fossils have been found in Nelson and Fiordland:
The existence of the Southern Alps is testament to just how much force the plates are exerting. The mountains rise sharply from the sea on the west coast, while the Canterbury plains only exist east of the mountains due to sediment runoff being dumped by rivers.
The freaky thing is, the fault that caused the Canterbury earthquakes wasn’t the Alpine fault at all, but a little offshoot that scientists didn’t really know much about until it blew.
Though this land is pristine and full of natural beauty, it is only rugged because of geological activity. This geological activity continues to this day.
We have certainly not seen the last quake.
When (yes, I said when) the Alpine fault goes, it’s really going to go. Like, really. Hopefully we will make it out to tell the tale.
Are you ready?