New Zealand's South Island
Extremely hot temperatures and high fluid pressures found deep within Alpine fault in New Zealand (Photo : Ross Land/Getty Images)

A team of researchers from more than 10 countries found that deep within New Zealand’s most hazardous earthquake-generating fault hides a region with extreme hot temperatures and high fluid pressures.

Their discovery, published in the journal Nature, could help in determining the mechanism behind the build-up of major earthquakes. Additionally, the extreme conditions within the fault have the potential to become a new type of geothermal energy source.

“We can now describe and estimate conditions on a geological fault that will rupture in an earthquake. This will help us to develop better computer models of earthquake rupture,” wrote Rupert Sutherland, a professor of tectonics and geophysics at Victoria University of Wellington and one of the researchers, in an article posted at