On 22 August 2003 an earthquake of magnitude 7.2 struck Fiordland. This caused many slips in steep terrain. They were regolith landslides, which involve only the upper soil layers and vegetation. In Fiordland forest clings to steep slopes, growing in a relatively thin layer of soil and weathered rock. When part of this slides it often takes other trees and debris, and gets bigger as it moves down.
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Photograph by Graham Hancox
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