Seismic science and site influences – overview

This topic looks at Aotearoa New Zealand’s earthquake hazards and the effects seismic activity can have on the built environment.

Home seismic science

Damage to a house in Redcliffs, Christchurch. (BRANZ)

Seismicity in New Zealand – including plate boundaries


Types of fault – including strike-slip faults, dip-slip faults, oblique-slip faults and aftershocks

Faults in New Zealand

Earthquake risk zones

Measuring earthquakes – including magnitude and intensity (objective intensity and subjective intensity)

Earthquake energy

Body waves – including P-waves, S-waves and wave propagation

Surface waves – including Rayleigh waves and Love waves

Earthquake hazards

Surface rupture

Ground shaking – including structural stress and landslides and rock falls

Ground settlement – including uniform settlement and differential settlement


Lateral ground displacement – including lateral spread and block sliding

Landslides and rock falls

Ground performance – including topography and site characteristics