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  • In this activity, students use maps to plot a graph of earthquakes under New Zealand to show the shape of the North Island subduction zone and compare this to the distribution of earthquakes in the South Island.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • read a map legend to understand the distribution of earthquakes in New Zealand
    • use earthquake distribution data for plotting
    • gain an understanding of the subduction zone where the Pacific plate is plunging below the Australian plate
    • draw a simple sketch of what the plate boundary might look like at the bottom of the South Island.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • student instructions
    • map of New Zealand showing location of earthquakes
    • spread of earthquakes at different depths.


    This activity was developed for the Earthquake Commission (EQC) and has been kindly provided for use on the Science Learning Hub.

      Published 17 November 2009, Updated 5 February 2013 Referencing Hub articles
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