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Monday, July 21, 2008

A New Zealand -led group of scientists seeking to find the cause of earthquakes...

A New Zealand -led group of scientists seeking to find the cause of earthquakes by investigating South Island faultline...

Read below:

A New Zealand-led group of scientists wants to find out more about the South Island's most dangerous fault line and gain more of an insight into what causes earthquakes.

The alpine fault, which runs 650km along the spine of the South Island between Milford Sound and Marlborough, ruptures every 200 to 400 years producing an earthquake of about magnitude eight. Its last episode was 291 years ago.

Project leader Dr John Townend says the scientists will drill several kilometres into the fault in the Mt Cook National Park region. They will examine physical and chemical changes taking place inside the fault to find out whether pressure is building towards another rupture.

Dr Townend says it is an ambitious and technically challenging mission and will be the first time that anything on such a scale has been attempted in New Zealand.

Scientists have been awarded $US44,500 to hold a five day workshop in the South Island early next year to plan the project. Up to 50 researchers will attend the event, many coming from overseas.

© 2008 NZCity, NewsTalkZB

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