Experts are expressing concern over the 7.8 magnitude earthquake that struck New Zealand shortly after midnight on Monday, killing two people. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the quake's epicenter occurred at a depth of about 23 kilometers, near Kaikoura, a coastal tourist town 92 kilometers northeast of Christchurch. According to University of New South Wales seismologist James Goff, the earthquake occurred on a ruptured fault which is not along the tectonic plate boundaries where quakes are expected, indicating that the region's seismic activity "is a lot more complicated than we thought." Goff added that the tsunami created by the quake was unusual for a fault located beneath land. The quake, which caused extensive damage to infrastructure, may also indicate that New Zealand's earthquake hazard maps need to be reconsidered, and has experts concerned that increases stress on the plate boundaries could produce an earthquake with an 8-plus sized magnitude.
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