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Students touch earthquake fault

20201113 100439

Students from Raphael House Rudolf Steiner School became scientists for the day as they learnt about faults, earthquakes and their impacts, on their field trip to the Wellington fault.

The Wellington fault runs through the Hutt Valley and Wellington City and is believed to extend all the way down to the Hikurangi subduction zone, where the Pacific Plate is subducting or moving under the Australian Plate, about 25-30 kilometres below the surface.

“We are at the start of a four-week geology course, learning about how the earth moves and creates landscapes. This opportunity for the students to learn from geoscience educator Julian Thomson and see it for themselves really solidifies their learning” says teacher Chrystal Rogers

“The students were buzzing about all they discovered through Julian's guidance and expertise. He has a wonderful way of telling the children where to look, but not what to see. They all came away knowing a lot more about faults and earthquakes.”

The students carried out a series of activities to investigate themselves how earthquakes had changed the landscape.

'I learned about how some of the land moves up, and how some moves down either side of the fault line when an earthquake happens. This is one of the ways that you can find out where a fault line is.” Says school student Nechama Tal.

“I really enjoyed being able to see what Julian was talking about on the land in front of us.”

The students will also be visiting the Wairarapa to look at sedimentary rocks, fossils, erosion and coastal features that have been uplifted by past large earthquakes on their field trip.

This field trip experience was part of a series of field trips that are being offered to schools as part of a five-year Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE) research programme called ‘Hikurangi Subduction Earthquakes and Slip Behaviour’ led by GNS Science.

Any schools interested in participating in a field trip are encouraged to get in contact with Kate Boersen, Project Leader for East Coast Life at the Boundary via

10 February 2023

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