Geology experts Tim Davies and Mauri McSaveney have predicted that an alpine fault earthquake is overdue, and would result in the East Cape ripping away from New Zealand, destroying the plateau that Rotorua is based on and taking Taupo and Whakatane with it.
The pair say the earthquake will strike "out of the blue" and cause widespread death, shut down power generators, create tsunamis within New Zealand and overwhelm emergency services.
"The most likely time [for the quake] is now. The next most likely time for it to happen is tomorrow," Associate Professor Davies, of Canterbury University, told the conference.
- Rotorua Daily Post, 24 August 2006