Story: Geology – overview

The New Zealand continent

The New Zealand continent

The land area of New Zealand is a small part of a largely submerged continental fragment that drifted away from Australia. In this diagram, continental crust is shown in orange, and thinner oceanic crust is blue. New Zealand lies at the junction between the Pacific and Australian plates, indicated as a broad line on the image. The plates are pushing against each other, causing uplift of the present land area.

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Source: Ray Wood and others, New Zealand’s continental shelf and UNCLOS Article 76. Lower Hutt: Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences; Wellington: National Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research, 2003

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney and Simon Nathan, 'Geology – overview - New Zealand – a geological jigsaw puzzle', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 22 September 2021)

Story by Eileen McSaveney and Simon Nathan, published 12 Jun 2006