Back to top

Seafloor instruments reveal more earthquakes on the offshore Hikurangi subduction zone

thumbnail IMG 8761 lq

Data collected from the Hikurangi subduction zone by an international team of scientists led by GNS Science shows there are many more earthquakes happening off the North Island's east coast than currently recorded.

Scientists from New Zealand, Japan and the United States of America have spent the last two weeks at sea on board NIWA’s specialised Research Vessel Tangaroa collecting earthquake monitoring instruments off the coasts of Hawke’s Bay and Gisborne.

These high-tech instruments include a newly developed type of Ocean Bottom Seismometer built by Professor Spahr Webb and his team at Columbia University in New York.

He said the data quality from the new instrument is much higher than he expected, and that he is surprised by the large number of earthquakes they had recorded.

Project Leader Dr Laura Wallace of GNS Science said the initial data collected from the offshore instruments suggests many more earthquakes are happening off the North Island's east coast than can be detected by onshore network of instruments operated by GeoNet.

"We really need instruments offshore the east coast of the North Island, continuously monitoring earthquakes and slow-slip events to get a complete understanding of all the creaks and groans of the Hikurangi subduction zone," says Wallace.

Scientists have also deployed a further five instruments off the coast of Gisborne as part of this research voyage and will collect these instruments in a years’ time.

All the data being collected helps scientists learn more about earthquakes and slow-slip events at the Hikurangi subduction zone, and what this means for future earthquakes in New Zealand.

This research is being undertaken under a five-year, $6 million MBIE-funded Endeavour project led by GNS Science, with major collaboration and contributions from other New Zealand and international partners.

Back to News

Getting in Touch

East Coast Lab
159 Dalton Street, Private Bag 6006 Napier, 4142
P: +64 6 835 9200
More Contact Details

Site Map


Get Involved


East Coast Lab Hikurangi Subduction Zone M9 - Copyright © 2024

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the East Coast Lab Hikurangi Subduction Zone M9 to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, East Coast Lab Hikurangi Subduction Zone M9 shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. East Coast Lab Hikurangi Subduction Zone M9 cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© East Coast Lab Hikurangi Subduction Zone M9 - / +64 6 835 9200 /