New Zealand edges closer to OZ

An earthquake on 16 July this year has caused New Zealand to shift 30cm towards Australia, scientists found. The earthquake, which had 7.8 magnitude on the Richter scale (the biggest for 78 years in New Zealand) struck Fiordland on the South Island, but only caused minimal damage. A global positioning system showed that Puyesgur Point, the south-west tip of New Zealand is now 30cm closer to Australia than it was before.

"New Zealand has been very fortunate. This earthquake anywhere else would have caused huge damage", says Ken Gledhill, director of research organisation GNS Science GeoNet. "It's taken us closer to Australia. The country is deforming all the time because of being on the plate boundary, but this has done it in a few seconds, rather than waiting hundreds of years."

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