Sampling of the active alpine fault in New Zealand reveals extreme hydrothermal conditions

A recent study published in Nature has demonstrated unusual heat generation and fluid movement in the Alpine Fault of New Zealand that has implications for understanding earthquakes in the region. Large plate-boundary faults, such as the Alpine Fault, are important areas of stress build-up and release, which can lead to earthquakes. There is increasing evidence that faults in such regions have lower than predicted frictional shear strength, and are subject to very limited heat generation during fault slippage.