Key Points:

Nearly $9 million has been allocated to bring a team of experts to New Zealand to keep an eye below the surface for volcanic and seismic activity and the location of natural resources.

The Underground Eye project has been awarded $8.84 million through the Government's new Strategic Relocation Fund.

The team consists of six scientists and engineers, led by Professor Peter Malin, inaugural director of the Institute of Earth Science and Engineering at Auckland University.

Prof Malin said the project would develop new methods and research into the geophysical landscape of New Zealand.

It would allow the discovery of geothermal power and fossil fuel resources, monitoring of faults and volcanic fields for signs of impending events, and providing an integrated, three-dimensional subsurface view of New Zealand.

"New Zealand is a very exciting place for geophysical activity," Prof Malin said.

"Through the Underground Eye project we hope to get a better understanding of the events below the surface, which will ultimately assist in hazard management and exploration for resources.

"It is also incredibly important, particularly in such a seismically active area, to build an understanding of the landscape and how human activities, such as mining or harnessing geothermal power, can affect the balance and lead to seismic events, such as earthquakes."