Story: Sea floor geology

Continental and oceanic crust

Continental and oceanic crust

Rocks of the oceanic crust tend to be heavier than those of the continental crust. When the heavy oceanic rocks of the Pacific Plate meet the lighter continental rocks of the Australian Plate (along the North Island’s east coast), they dive (subduct) beneath the Australian Plate. This process influences and largely explains the varied shape of the New Zealand sea floor.

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How to cite this page:

Keith Lewis, Scott D. Nodder and Lionel Carter, 'Sea floor geology - Zealandia: the New Zealand continent', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 21 June 2024)

Story by Keith Lewis, Scott D. Nodder and Lionel Carter, published 12 Jun 2006