Much of New Zealand is mountainous or steep hill country. The geology is also highly varied with hard, brittle rocks in mountain areas. These shatter easily, forming screes. In North Island hill country soft rocks and soils can turn to mush with heavy rain. Added to this are many fault lines which cause weakness in rocks and can trigger landslides in an earthquake. The maritime climate also means high rainfall. All these factors contribute to a high potential for landslides in many hilly parts of the country.
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