The auriferous lodes of Reefton and other localities on the West Coast probably originated from the cooling magmas that formed the younger granites. Basic and ultra-basic rocks, the latter now largely altered to serpentine, occur in Nelson, Westland, Otago, and, to a less extent, in North Auckland. The vast pile of flow and fragmental rocks that form the Hauraki Peninsula and the range that continues it southward to Tauranga belong to this period. The gold-silver veins extensively worked at Coromandel, Thames, and Waihi are in these rocks, which southward are smothered by the rhyolitic pumice that vents in the Taupo-Rotorua zone ejected during the late Pliocene and Pleistocene.
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Thick showers of pumice from this region cover a large part of the centre of the North Island, and streams have carried the finer material to practically all the low-lying parts of the Island. The volcanoes are still alive, as is evidenced by the steam-vents, hot springs, and geysers found in the depressed zone extending from Ruapehu to White Island.
The volcanic rocks of Taranaki probably range from the Miocene to the Pleistocene in age. The basalts and scoria cones that occur so abundantly between Kawhia and the Bay of Islands belong for the most part to the late Pliocene and Pleistocene, though cones at Auckland City are probably Recent. In the South Island the volcanoes appear to be quite dead, for the hot springs at Hanmer and near the alpine chain are due to other causes.
In the middle Tertiary, however, there were outbursts at many points, the chief eruptions being at Banks Peninsula and about Dunedin. In a short article it is impossible to give an adequate idea of what geological workers have accomplished in New Zealand, or of what they have yet to do in order that the wisest use may be made of the country's mineral and agricultural resources.
For good general accounts the treatises of Professors Park and Marshall should be consulted, and for more detailed information the bulletins of the Geological Survey and the many papers that have appeared in the Transactions of the New Zealand Institute now the Royal Society of New Zealand. The following article deals with earthquakes in New Zealand.
The first section of the article has been prepared by Dr. Henderson, Director of the Geological Survey, and the remaining sections by Mr. Hayes, Acting-Director of the Dominion Observatory. Earthquake and volcanic activity are manifestations of the adjustments constantly occurring in the earth's crust.
The South Island of New Zealand and the eastern part of the North Island are on the crest of the great mountain ridge or crustal fold which forms a portion of the real border of the Pacific. This ridge maintains a relatively straight course north-north-east for 1, miles across the floor of the Pacific, nearly to Samoa. The Auckland Peninsula, part of a decidedly weaker fold, meets the main fold nearly at right angles in the Rotorua-Taupo volcanic region. The earthquakes of this seismically sensitive district, though they may be locally severe, are not usually felt far from their points of origin.
On the other hand, the tectonic earthquakes that occur along the main earth-fold shake large areas, some of them being recorded on instruments throughout the world. These are caused by the slipping of earth-blocks against their neighbours along fractures. Many great fault-zones have been traced for long distances, but a few only have been active since European occupation.
The Hawke's Bay earthquake of raised an area sixty miles long in a north-east direction and in parts ten miles wide. Numerous levels on the Heretaunga Plain and along the railway north of Napier show that the uplift decreased north-westward, so that the area was slightly tilted in that direction. The ground east of the uplifted area sank, and parts of the Napier and Wairoa flats are over a foot lower than before the earthquake.
In , movement along a north-trending fault seven miles west of Murchison raised the ground east of the fault by about 15 ft. The uplift gradually decreases eastward and dies out sixteen miles from the fault, facts indicating a slight tilt of the earth-block toward the east. Recent levellings show that the block is sinking somewhat irregularly, a movement, no doubt, causing some of the innumerable local after-shocks felt in the area over many months.
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A comparison between the records of destructive earthquakes in New Zealand and similar records in other seismic countries shows that the seismicity of New Zealand in general is surprisingly high. This, however, is due to the occurrence of a large number of earthquakes of the semi-destructive type, with comparatively few of the disastrous type.
During the period sixty-nine destructive earthquakes are known to have occurred in New Zealand, forty-nine of which were of the semi-destructive type not exceeding intensity R. There were fourteen of intensity 9, and six of intensity The Auckland Peninsula, South Canterbury, and Eastern Otago appear to have been comparatively free from earthquakes during the past hundred years. Although the seismic history of the Fiord region of the South Island is not very well known, there are records of sealers having experienced violent earthquakes in those parts in , , and It is thus evident that, although some parts of New Zealand have experienced no severe earthquakes during the past hundred years, no assurance can be given that none will occur there in the future.
Morgan: N. Geological Survey; Annual Report for the year , p. Wellington, London: John Murray. Chapman in Westminster Review , Vol. Dominion Observatory Bulletin Bastings and R.
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Jour, of Sci. Although there appears to be no regular annual variation in the frequency of New Zealand earthquakes, the mean monthly numbers over a long period indicate that earthquakes are on the average most frequent in March and least so in January. The mean monthly numbers follow approximately the mean annual variation of atmospheric pressure in New Zealand.
The total number of earthquakes reported felt in New Zealand, and the maximum intensities reported in each of the years to inclusive, were as follows:—. The figures in the above table, giving the number of reported earthquakes, require careful interpretation.
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In years of major earthquakes, such as and , many of the numerous after-shocks are liable to be passed unnoticed, while during a period of quiescence there is a tendency for all shocks, however slight, to be reported. This leads to an undue emphasis being placed upon earthquake activity during a comparatively quiet period. The great number of earthquakes reported in is due to the swarm of local shocks which occurred in the Taupo region in the latter half of that year. Also, although there was no major earthquake in , a large number of shocks occurred in that year, due mainly to the continuation of after-shocks of the Buller earthquake of 17th June, During the period the number of deaths recorded in New Zealand as due directly or indirectly to earthquakes was Of these, were due to the Hawke's Bay earthquake of 3rd February, A table giving details of the number of deaths due to earthquakes in New Zealand was published in the issue of the Year-Book.
Earthquakes in New Zealand are recorded by means of seismographs, and also by a system of non-instrumental reports. The main seismograph stations are located at the Dominion Observatory, Wellington, and the Magnetic Observatory, Christchurch. The Dominion Observatory acts as a central station for ten other subsidiary stations in New Zealand and one at the Chatham Islands. The subsidiary stations are operated by officers of other Government Departments, by Engineers of some of the Electric-power Boards, and by private individuals.
The station at Apia, Samoa, is under the direct control of Apia Observatory. The system of non-instrumental earthquake reports was inaugurated in At first it was confined to a selected number of telegraph-offices distributed throughout the Dominion, but in recent years more telegraph-offices have been added, and a number of lighthouse-keepers and several private observers have also taken up the work.
There are at present non-instrumental reporting stations. This system of recording earthquakes depends entirely on personal observations. Special forms are used, on which information is required concerning the observed time of an earthquake, the direction and duration of the movement, and any other particulars likely to be of value in estimating its intensity.
The Dominion Observatory collects and summarizes all such reports of earthquakes felt in New Zealand. Information regarding earthquakes obtained from the seismograph records of all the New Zealand stations, and from the reports furnished by non-instrumental stations, is published in a monthly seismological bulletin.
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This bulletin includes provisional earthquake epicentres in New Zealand and in the south-west Pacific generally. The New Zealand epicentres are determined solely from the records and reports of the New Zealand stations, while the determination of those in other parts of the south-west Pacific requires the use of additional data from Apia, Papeete, and the Australian seismograph stations. The Dominion Observatory also publishes special bulletins dealing with the results of research work in seismology. All seismological publications are distributed to the chief seismological stations and institutions throughout the world.
Seismic activity in New Zealand in was notable chiefly for a series of rather severe earthquakes towards the close of the year. Although the number of shocks felt was less than in , the maximum intensity reported R. The activity in may be summarized as follows:—.
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Occasional small shocks felt at Whakatane. These may be due to volcanological activity on or near White Island; but no data are available from the island to confirm this. Periodic activity in Hawke's Bay region, with four prominent shocks during the year, two of which reached minor destructive intensity. The first shock occurred on 18th January, and had an epicentre not far from that of the Pahiatua earthquake of The second shock occurred on 14th June, and originated near the point where the most recent work has placed the origin of the Napier earthquake of It indicates that the block which moved in is still undergoing seismic strain.
The shocks of 15th and 30th December originated close to the Mangatoro fault, along which traces of comparatively recent activity have been reported by the Geological Survey. These two shocks reached intensity R. A continuation of moderate activity in the Wanganui region, with a marked disturbance centreing round 23rd November.
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Particulars of this disturbance are given below in the list of the most important earthquakes in The active zone centred near Wanganui has extended as far north as Whangamomona and Ohakune, and south into the South Taranaki Bight. It is possible that the shocks in this region are due to magmatic movements.
A continuation of mild activity in north-west Nelson. About forty shocks were reported during the year, but none exceeded R. Two earthquakes, on 31st October and 1st November, are noteworthy on account of their focal depth, which was of the order of kilometres.
As is usual in deep-focus shocks, some interesting anomalies in surface intensity were recorded. The epicentres of both shocks were to the north-east of Taupo, and, although the first and stronger one was felt generally in the eastern districts of the North Island and on both sides of Cook Strait, it was not reported felt at several places comparatively close to the epicentre, such as Taupo, Rotorua, and Tauranga. The second shock was reported felt only at Waipawa and Paraparaumu. After a long period of comparative quiet, the south-west portion of the South Island was shaken by a powerful disturbance on 17th December, the maximum intensity reported being R.
The origin of this shock was deeper than normal, and an intensity of R.
It was followed by numerous aftershocks during the latter half of December, some activity continuing well into the following year. One hundred and seventy-five shocks were recorded on the Jaggar seismograph at Monowai up to the end of December, The following list gives some particulars of the most important New Zealand earthquakes in —. A total of shocks was reported felt during , 80 of which were felt in some part of the North Island and 60 in some part of the South Island.
Eight shocks were felt in both Islands. The maximum intensity was R. The following is a monthly summary of earthquakes reported felt during —. The following article on the climate of New Zealand was prepared by the late Dr.
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