New Zealand’s Relief

Although New Zealand is small, its geologic history is complicated. The land has existed inside the location of New Zealand for the final 500 million years. The earliest known rocks originated as sedimentary deposits around 545 million to 540 million years ago, near Precambrian times (4.6 billion to 541 million years ago) and the early Cambrian period (541 million to 485 million years ago). ; Their supply vicinity became likely the continental foreground of Australia and Antarctica, which at the time changed into a part of the close by unmarried continent. Continental go with the flow (the motion of huge plates of the Earth’s crust) created a distinct island arc and oceanic trench shape with the aid of the Carboniferous length (approximately 359 to 299 million years in the past), while sedimentary rocks started to build up within the underside (trenches). 

It occurred that nowadays makes up three-quarters of New Zealand. This environment lasted approximately 250 million years and changed into typified with the aid of both downward-sloping marine sedimentary rocks and terrestrial volcanic rocks. This length changed into ended inside the west by the Rangitata orogeny (mountain-forming episode) at the start of the Cretaceous duration (about one hundred forty-five million years ago), although downward deposition persisted inside the east. These mountains have been stepping by step eroded via erosion, and the sea encroached, in the end covering almost the whole land. At the give up of the Oligocene epoch (about 23 million years in the past), the Cacura orogeny began, again uplifting the land above the sea, along with the southern Alps of the South Island/Ka Tiritiri o Te Moana. Many of the Great Earth Movements related to this remaining orogeny occurred (and occur these days) alongside faults, which split the panorama into terrific blocks, the leader of that is the Alpine Fault of the South Island. The erosion and non-stop motion of those defective blocks, together with the steady volcanism of the North Island, largely define the USA’s landscape.

New Zealand is part of the Ring of Fire—a circum-Pacific seismic belt marked with the aid of common earthquakes and massive volcanic interest. The North Island and the western part of the South Island are on the Indo-Australian Plate, and the rest of the South Island is on the Pacific Plate. Their collision produces violent seismic interest in subduction zones and alongside faults. Several earthquakes occur every 12 months, consisting of masses that can be felt by New Zealanders. Many of those aftershocks have been devastating, together with the one that devastated the cities of Napier and Hastings in 1931 and a sequence of comparable earthquakes in Christchurch in 2010–eleven.

Both the north and south islands are roughly divided with the aid of mountains. Heavy snow-fed rivers rise from the hills, even though considerable alluvial plains have been formed handiest in the east of the South Island. The alluvial Canterbury Plain contrasts sharply with the slopes and slender coastal strip of the Westland area on the west coast of the South Island. The Southern Alps/Ka Tiritiri o Te Moana is a three hundred-mile- (480-km-) lengthy chain of folded mountains that includes New Zealand’s highest mountain—Aoraki/Mount Cook at 12,316 feet (3,754 m)—and some 20 different peaks which upward thrust above 10,000 ft (three,000 m), as well as an extensive glacier gadget with associated lakes.

There are greater than 360 glaciers inside the Southern Alps/Ka Tiritiri o Te Moana. With a duration of 18 miles (29 km) and a width of over zero.5 miles (0. Eight km), the Tasman Glacier, the largest in New Zealand, flows down the Japanese slopes of Aoraki/Mount Cook. Other critical glaciers on the eastern slopes of the Southern Alps are Murchison, Mueller, and Godley; Fox and Franz Josef are the biggest on the western slopes. There are seven small glaciers on the slopes of Mount Ruapehu inside the North Island.

In the north of the South Island, the Alps break up into steep mountaineering ridges. On their western face, there are mineral deposits, and on the east they keep in parallel stages, ending in a sequence of sounds. To the south, the Alps wreck into a rugged, dissected USA of hard get entry to and dazzling scenery, particularly in the direction of the western tip of the island (called the Fiordland). On its Japanese boundary, this forest is bordered with the aid of a highly valuable plateau known as Central Otago, which has almost continental weather.

The North Island’s terrain is a good deal much less difficult than the South and has greater moderate weather and greater monetary ability. In the center of the island, a volcanic plateau rises unexpectedly from the southern shore of New Zealand’s largest natural lake, Lake Taupo, that’s itself a historic volcanic crater. In the east, the ranges shape the backdrop of rolling u. S . With stretches of tremendously fertile land connected with the aid of river systems. To the south, extra levels cause the ocean.


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Robert Lenz

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