8 Things You Must Know About Earthquakes

8 Things You Must Know About Earthquakes

The strongest of them all is not the 30th October earthquake.  Historically, New Zealand has experienced many large earthquakes.

The biggest NZ earthquake – magnitude 8.2 Wairarapa earthquake in 1855.

On an international scale, the 1855 earthquake is of major significance in terms of the area affected and the amount of fault movement. About 5000km2 of land was shifted vertically during the quake. The maximum uplift was 6.4m near Turakirae Head, east of Wellington. The maximum horizontal movement along the fault was about 18m. This is the largest displacement along a vertical fault line ever recorded!

Given that our country is prone to earthquakes, it’s best to be prepared and informed should another devastating scenario occur.

These are some of the things you should learn about earthquakes


The cause of earthquakes
The cause of earthquakes

The earth has 4 layers: the outer core, inner core, mantle and crust. The crust and the top of the mantle (the earth’s outer shell) are composed of many pieces, and they constantly move around, sliding and bumping into one another. These pieces are called tectonic plates and the edges of these plates are called plate boundaries. According to the United States Geological Survey, “The plate boundaries are made up of many faults, and most of the earthquakes around the world occur on these faults. Since the edges of the plates are rough, they get stuck while the rest of the plate keeps moving. Finally, when the plate has moved far enough, the edges unstick on one of the faults and there is an earthquake.” As these plates move, seismic waves shake the earth, all the way to the earth’s surface.

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