Breaking news: New Zealand scientist warns that a dormant faultline in the Pacific Ocean floor could generate megathrust force 9 earthquakes causing giant tsunamis.
The alert was given today by Ursula Cochran, of GNS Science, Earth and Geoscience Research facility, in a report published in Marlborough Express. She stated that if the entire plate boundary erupted, it would bring with it megathrust earthquakes of up to force 9 (the highest possible) on the Richter scale and would cause massive tsunamis across the Pacific Ocean.
She was referring to the Hikurangi plate boundary, off the East Coast of North Island (New Zealand), which moves under the tectonic plate of Australia, creating what is known as a subduction zone. Until the Kaikoura earthquake in November 2016 this subduction zone was thought to be dormant.
Ursula Cochran stated that this earthquake may have been a precursor to something more serious. Subduction zones create the most devastating earthquakes and tsunamis, examples being Sumatra (2004), Chile (2010) and Japan (2011). A force nine earthquake, to put things in perspective, would be 11,000 times more powerful than the 2011 Christchurch earthquake which killed 185 people.