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New earthquake fault line unearthed near Hamilton

Scientists have unearthed a fault line in the Waikato and are investigating what risk it could pose to people living nearby.

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The risk it poses to nearby residents is being investigated. Source: 1 NEWS

The fault was discovered 27 kilometres from Hamilton and is significant enough to trigger a 6.7 magnitude earthquake.

From the air it appears as an unimpressive mound in the middle of a farm.

GNS Science’s Pilar Villamor says if the fault ruptured Morrinsville could experience a similar quake to the one that rocked Christchurch in 2010.

"This is just refining and giving us a little more of an understanding in low seismicity and high seismicity, there are also some of these features that rupture very seldom, but they are there and we need to be planning for them and preparing for them if they happen to rupture in our lifetime."

Staff will spend 10 days at the site and then analyse the samples over the next year.

It’s hoped the data collected will provide a better picture of how often this fault ruptures.