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Evidence of massive quakes found in New Zealand

Tue, May 19, 2015, 11:36 AM
Wellington, May 19, 2015: Geologists for the very first time have found direct evidence of massive earthquakes beneath central New Zealand capable of generating tsunamis.

At least two large subduction (the process where one tectonic plate moves under another) earthquakes had occurred under central New Zealand in the past 1,000 years, with one occurring 520 to 470 years ago and the other 880 to 800 years ago, the country's Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (GNS Science) said on Tuesday.

They were responsible for some of the biggest quakes and tsunamis in the world, GNS Science researcher Kate Clark said.

Recent examples included the 9.0-magnitude Tohoku earthquake and tsunami in Japan in March 2011 and the 9.3-magnitude Indian Ocean earthquake and tsunami in December 2004, Xinhua reported.

The older of the two earthquakes identified from sediment cores taken from Big Lagoon, on the northeast of the South Island, was accompanied by a three-metre-high tsunami that travelled inland about 360 metres.

Scientists are investigating other locations in the lower North Island to find further evidence of subduction quakes to help to provide a better picture of how big these quakes might have been and how they impacted the region.
Agency: IANS
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