15 Apr 2013

Scientists plan ambitious drilling projects

8:24 pm on 15 April 2013

Scientists from around the world are in New Zealand's capital to discuss an ambitious series of drilling projects.

Researchers hope their studies will shed new light on volcanoes, earthquakes and plate tectonics.

The United States-based National Science Foundation has picked New Zealand as one of three places in the world to focus its studies on subduction zones.

Some 160 scientists held a workshop at the national museum, Te Papa Tongarewa, in Wellington on Monday to pitch ideas for what should be researched.

One proposed project involves drilling into a submarine volcano in the Kermadec arc.

Another suggests drilling into the Hikurangi trench off the east coast of New Zealand to investigate slow earthquakes.

Scientists say they hope the research will allow them to more accurately identify natural hazards and find new sources of valuable minerals.