Just offshore from the North Island, the Pacific Plate begins to descend beneath the continental crust on the Australian Plate. The descending plate presses against the overlying continental plate, causing the overlying plate to fracture and producing shallow earthquakes. Deep earthquakes occur in the oceanic crust that is being bent downward into the subsurface. As the Pacific Plate descends into the hot interior of the earth, rock near the plate boundary starts to melt, feeding the volcanoes in the Taupō Volcanic Zone, in the central North Island.
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Te Ara – The Encyclopedia of New Zealand
Artwork by Bruce Mahalski
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