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Art meets Science at the Fault

3 years ago by Aliki Weststrate and Kate Boersen

art under pressure

A Tairāwhiti (Gisborne) region school competition is now open to raise awareness of the Hikurangi plate boundary, the largest earthquake and tsunami hazard in New Zealand.

Secondary School students are being asked to help scientists name their two Deep Sea Observatories. The first of their kind in New Zealand, these observatories will monitor any offshore changes due to slow slip events, earthquakes, and tsunamis for the next decade. The top four entries who decide the best name will win flights to tour the science vessel in Christchurch in early March 2018.

Primary School students can enter the Art Under Pressure competition which will send their art to the bottom of the ocean by equipment on the international science research ship, the JOIDES Resolution. The immense pressures at the bottom of the ocean will shrink their art uniformly and be returned to the school afterwards.

The competition is organised by GNS Science and East Coast LAB (Life at the Boundary) as a way to raise awareness of the Hikurangi plate boundary, a type of subduction zone where the Pacific plate ‘dives’ underneath the Australian Plate.

The Hikurangi subduction zone is capable of generating a magnitude 8.4 earthquake that, in addition to widespread ground shaking, is also likely to produce a tsunami, coastal uplift and subsidence, landslides and liquefaction. 

Co-chief Scientist onboard the JOIDES Resolution, Dr Laura Wallace says, “what makes subduction zones rupture in huge, tsunami-generating earthquakes is one of the most pressing questions facing scientists today and been the subject of a lot of research in recent years”.

All schools who enter these two competitions will also get an opportunity to virtually tour the science ship, meet and question the scientists and learn from the onboard educators.

The competitions run from 16 October until 17 November 2017. Schools can enter HERE.