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Learn about the Hikurangi plate boundary and be in to win some cool prizes 

Scientists are trying to learn more about the Hikurangi plate boundary, which lies off the East Coast of the North Island. This is where the Pacific tectonic plate subducts (or dives underneath) the Australian tectonic plate and is what scientists call a subduction zone. Subduction zones are a type of fault and are responsible for the largest and most powerful earthquakes and tsunami in the world.

In the next couple of years scientists from New Zealand will be working on specialised science research ships stationed off the coast of Gisborne to learn more about the Hikurangi plate boundary to better understand the earthquake and tsunami risk it poses. The largest boat, the R/V JOIDES Resolution is 143m long and will be at sea for two months for the first voyage in November 2017, and another two months from March 2018.

The JOIDES Resolution is a research vessel that drills into the ocean floor to collect and study core samples. Scientists use data from the JR to better understand climate change, geology and Earth’s history. The scientists will be living onboard the ship and working very hard the whole time. While there they have a few different missions: 

  1. Explore New Zealand’s largest fault, the Hikurangi subduction zone, which runs offshore along the length of the East Coast.
  2. Answer questions about why some parts of the Hikurangi subduction zone are ‘locked’ and some are slipping
  3. Find new evidence to unlock the secrets of the Hikurangi subduction zone so East Coast communities can be better prepared.

We want you to learn more about the Hikurangi plate boundary and have the chance to win some cool prizes while you are at it.

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