New Zealand is situated inside
the dramatic sounding “Ring of Fire”, a region which
encircles the Pacific Ocean where the displacement
of tectonic plates (large segments of the crust of
the Earth) results in seismic and volcanic and
activity. The Indo-Australian and Pacific tectonic
plates convene at New Zealand, and yet their
activities are radically different below the 2 main
The plates meet at the South Island in a
predominantly sideways or lateral motion. This
action produced the Southern Alps by folding and
elevating oceanic residue.
However, at the North Island, the Pacific plate folds below
the other plate. This process of subduction has pushed
volcanic action to the Earth’s surface.
Evidence of science reveals that the North Island has had
numerous large volcanic eruptions in the last thirty
thousand years. Two significant eruptions that occurred
twenty six years ago and almost a thousand years ago
produced the deep cavern that is now known as Lake Taupo.
The earlier eruption is thought to be one of the biggest in
Volcanic activity occurs up to this day in the
central region of the island. Hot springs and
geysers, which signify geothermal activity, exist
all throughout the region, and seismic activities
(earthquakes) occur often yet are usually moderate.
Mount Egmont, also called Mount Taranaki (Maori), is
a lone peak rising in the west most region of New
Zealand’s North Island. This extinct volcano rises
to a height of 2,518 meters (or 8,261 feet) and is
one of several volcanoes found on the island.
In New Zealand’s North Island the north central
region is a region of vigorous volcanism.
Aside from the three active volcanoes, there are also
geysers, such as the Lady Knox Geyser, as well as mud pools
and hot springs.
The landmass of New Zealand had once been part of
Gondwanaland, the ancient super-continent which also
included Madagascar, Africa, Australia, India, South
America, and Antarctica. The breaking up of Gondwanaland was
caused by plate tectonics approximately a hundred and
seventy million years ago in the Jurassic Period.
Until approximately eighty two million years ago in the
Cretaceous Period, the landmass of New Zealand was still
attached to Antarctica.
tiny landmass subsequently broke off, drifted to the
north, and was then cut off from the rest of the
world. Approximately thirty five years ago, at the
time of the Oligocene Epoch, large chunks of New
Zealand was submerged, leaving maybe only twenty
percent of the current area as dry land.
New Zealand’s land area, in the period of the ice
ages thousands of years ago, was a lot bigger than
it is today and the two main islands were linked as
a single landmass when global sea levels were as
much as a hundred and thirty five meters (or four
hundred fifty feet) lower.
Zealandia, the New Zealand continent which is mostly
submerged, is located uncomfortably across two moving parts
of the surface of the planet which are the Australian and
Pacific plates. The two movable plates are bumping each
other at a glancing angle. Because of this, the submerged
continent of New Zealand is crumpling to create the land
that now protrudes above sea level.