Some parts of New Zealand are more likely to experience severe earthquakes than others. The colours on this map indicate the likely severity of shaking in different areas – in technical terms, the ground motion which has a 10% chance of occurring within 50 years. These predictions are based on the distribution of active faults, how frequently faults have moved in the past, and the location of historic earthquakes. The zone where the strongest shaking is likely corresponds to the southern part of the Alpine Fault, extending along the Hope Fault into Marlborough.
The 2010–11 Canterbury earthquakes are outside the areas of greatest statistical risk of high ground shaking. This illustrates the point that large earthquakes may occur anywhere in the New Zealand region, not just in the highest risk areas.
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Source: GNS Science