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Sean Fitzsimons

Position:

Professor

Qualifications:

BSc(Hons)(Cant) PhD(Tas)

Office Hours:by email appointment

 


Teaching

ENVI111 Environment and Society
ENVI211 Environmental History
ENVI311 Understanding Environmental Issues
GEOG283 Climate Change: The Past
GEOG289 Geomorphology
GEOG290 Field Research Methods (Science)
GEOG380 Field Research Studies (Science)
GEOG389 Climate Change: The Past
GEOG395 Geomorphology
GEOG454 Alpine Geomorphology

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Research Interests

  • Mt Aoraki scenic view from valley towards mountainAlpine landscape development
  • Reconstructing landscape change from lake sediments
  • Glacial geomorphology


Research Summary: Lake Sediments Provide a Natural Seismometer for Earthquakes on a Plate Boundary Fault

Blog Post: Nature’s Seismometers

Click here to view recent Research Grants

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Potential Postgraduate Projects

Projects suitable for students include:

Landscape development in South Westland
This research programme is focused on understanding how landscape development is driven by high magnitude storm events and co-seismic landsliding. The main approaches used in this work are analysis of the impacts of landsliding from aerial photographs and satellite images, using lake sediments and proxy records of catchment disturbance and monitoring the impacts of landsliding on alluvial fans and rivers by conventional survey techniques.

Determining sediment yields associated with disturbance events
In the 1980s the Waitangi-Toana River experienced a major avulsion and developed a new course which resulted in the river draining into Lake Wahapo. As a result of this avulsion Lake Wahapo changed from an organic-dominated lake to a turbid water body as millions of tons of sediment accumulated in the basin. We propose to use this event as a way of under-standing how lakes record catchment disturbance events. The research will involve calculating a post-disturbance sediment budget for the lake using an echosounder to map the 3D geometry of the sediment and a Mackereth corer to retrieve samples of the lake sediment. This project would suit an MSc student interested in understanding landscape evolution processes.

see more

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Recent Research Students

  • Jono Conway: Distributed energy balance modelling of New Zealand glaciers (PhD 2013: co-supervised by Dr Nicolas Cullen, Geography)
  • Jamie Howarth: Reconstructing the landscape response to high magnitude disturbance in active mountain belts (PhD 2012: co-supervised by Professor Richard Norris, Geology)
  • Alex Simms: Shallow fluid movement in the hanging wall of the Alpine Fault (MSc 2013: co-supervised by Simon Cox, GNS Science)
  • Sebastian Vivero Andrade: Recent ice wastage on the Tasman Glacier, Southern Alps, New Zealand obtained from geodetic elevation changes (MSc 2011: co-supervised by Dr Pascal Sirguey, Surveying)
  • Bronwyn van Valkengoed: Pollen evidence for Holocene climate change in the Eglinton Valley, western Southland (MSc 2011)
  • Rosanne Simes: Decision-making for living in flood-prone areas (MPlan 2011)
  • Todd Redpath: Utilising optical satellite imagery to derive multi-temporal flow fields for the Tasman Glacier, New Zealand (MSc 2011: co-supervised by Dr Pascal Sirguey, Surveying)
  • Abigail Lovett: Origin, formation and deformation of mirabilite deposits: Hobbs Glacier region, Antarctica (MSc 2011)
  • Erin Harvie: An integrated approach to landform genesis: case study of the Mueller Glacier (MSc 2011)

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Publications

Filep, C. V., Turner, S., Eidse, N., Thompson-Fawcett, M., & Fitzsimons, S. (2017). Advancing rigour in solicited diary research. Qualitative Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1468794117728411

Cullen, N. J., Anderson, B., Sirguey, P., Stumm, D., Mackintosh, A., Conway, J. P., … Fitzsimons, S. J., & Lorrey, A. (2017). An 11-year record of mass balance of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand, determined using a geostatistical approach. Journal of Glaciology, 63(238), 199-217. doi: 10.1017/jog.2016.128

Dubnick, A., Wadham, J., Tranter, M., Sharp, M., Orwin, J., Barker, J., … Fitzsimons, S. (2017). Trickle or treat: The dynamics of nutrient export from polar glaciers. Hydrological Processes. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/hyp.11149

MacDonell, S. A., Sharp, M., & Fitzsimons, S. (2016). Cryoconite hole connectivity on the Wright Lower Glacier, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 62(234), 714-724. doi: 10.1017/jog.2016.62

Bagshaw, E. A., Wadham, J. L., Tranter, M., Perkins, R., Morgan, A., Williamson, C. J., … Fitzsimons, S., & Dubnick, A. (2016). Response of Antarctic cryoconite microbial communities to light. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 92, fiw076. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiw076

Chapter in Book - Research

Lorrain, R. D., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2011). Cold-based glaciers. In V. P. Singh, P. Singh & U. K. Haritashya (Eds.), Encyclopedia of snow, ice and glaciers. (pp. 157-161). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Fitzsimons, S., & Lorrain, R. (2011). Subglacial processes. In V. P. Singh, P. Singh & U. K. Haritashya (Eds.), Encyclopedia of snow, ice and glaciers. (pp. 1101-1105). Dordrecht, The Netherlands: Springer.

Fitzsimons, S. (2007). Glacial geology. In B. Riffenburgh (Ed.), Encyclopedia of the Antarctic (Vol. 1). (pp. 461-463). New York: Routledge.

Fitzsimons, S. (2006). Mechanical behaviour and structure of the debris-rich basal ice layer. In P. G. Knight (Ed.), Glacier science and environmental change. (pp. 329-335). Malden, MA: Blackwell.

Fitzsimons, S. J. (2005). Ice-marginal terrestrial landsystems: Polar-continental glacier margins. In D. J. A. Evans (Ed.), Glacial landsystems. (pp. 89-142). London: Hodder Arnold.

Fitzsimons, S. J. (2001). Glaciers. In E. J. Waterhouse (Ed.), Ross Sea Region - A State of the Environment Report for the Ross Sea Region of Antarctica. (pp. 4.1-4.15). Christchurch: New Zealand Antarctic Institute.

Fitzsimons, S. J. (2001). Weathering and mass movement. In A. Sturman & R. Spronken-Smith (Eds.), Introduction to the Physical Environment - A New Zealand Perspective. (pp. 240-251). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Lawson, W., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2001). Glaciers and landscape. In A. Sturman & R. Spronken-Smith (Eds.), Introduction to the Physical Environment - A New Zealand Perspective. (pp. 269-289). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Fitzsimons, S. J., Lorrain, R., & Vandergoes, M. J. (1999). Behaviour of subglacial sediment and basal ice in a cold glacier. In A. J. Maltman, B. Hubbard & M. J. Hambrey (Eds.), The Deformation of Glacial Material. Geological Society of London Special Publication No 176. (pp. 181-190). London: Geological Society of London.

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Journal - Research Article

Filep, C. V., Turner, S., Eidse, N., Thompson-Fawcett, M., & Fitzsimons, S. (2017). Advancing rigour in solicited diary research. Qualitative Research. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1177/1468794117728411

Dubnick, A., Wadham, J., Tranter, M., Sharp, M., Orwin, J., Barker, J., … Fitzsimons, S. (2017). Trickle or treat: The dynamics of nutrient export from polar glaciers. Hydrological Processes. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1002/hyp.11149

Cullen, N. J., Anderson, B., Sirguey, P., Stumm, D., Mackintosh, A., Conway, J. P., … Fitzsimons, S. J., & Lorrey, A. (2017). An 11-year record of mass balance of Brewster Glacier, New Zealand, determined using a geostatistical approach. Journal of Glaciology, 63(238), 199-217. doi: 10.1017/jog.2016.128

MacDonell, S. A., Sharp, M., & Fitzsimons, S. (2016). Cryoconite hole connectivity on the Wright Lower Glacier, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 62(234), 714-724. doi: 10.1017/jog.2016.62

Bagshaw, E. A., Wadham, J. L., Tranter, M., Perkins, R., Morgan, A., Williamson, C. J., … Fitzsimons, S., & Dubnick, A. (2016). Response of Antarctic cryoconite microbial communities to light. FEMS Microbiology Ecology, 92, fiw076. doi: 10.1093/femsec/fiw076

Howarth, J. D., Fitzsimons, S. J., Norris, R. J., Langridge, R., & Vandergoes, M. J. (2016). A 2000 yr rupture history for the Alpine fault derived from Lake Ellery, South Island, New Zealand. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 128(3/4), 627. doi: 10.1130/B31300.1

Roop, H. A., Levy, R., Dunbar, G. B., Vandergoes, M. J., Howarth, J., Fitzsimons, S., … Yoon, H. I. (2016). A hydroclimate-proxy model based on sedimentary facies in an annually laminated sequence from Lake Ohau, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of Paleolimnology, 55(1), 1-16. doi: 10.1007/s10933-015-9853-3

Koch, I., Fitzsimons, S., Samyn, D., & Tison, J.-L. (2015). Marine ice recycling at the southern McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 61(228), 689-701. doi: 10.3189/2015JoG14J095

Conway, J. P., Cullen, N. J., Spronken-Smith, R. A., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2015). All-sky radiation over a glacier surface in the Southern Alps of New Zealand: Characterizing cloud effects on incoming shortwave, longwave and net radiation. International Journal of Climatology, 35(5), 699-713. doi: 10.1002/joc.4014

Filep, C. V., Thompson-Fawcett, M., Fitzsimons, S., & Turner, S. (2015). Reaching revelatory places: The role of solicited diaries in extending research on emotional geographies into the unfamiliar. Area, 47(4), 459-465. doi: 10.1111/area.12217

Turner, G. M., Howarth, J. D., de Gelder, G. I. N. O., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2015). A new high-resolution record of Holocene geomagnetic secular variation from New Zealand. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 430, 296-307. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2015.08.021

Sims, A., Cox, S. C., Fitzsimons, S., & Holland, P. (2015). Seasonal infiltration and groundwater movement in schist bedrock, Southern Alps, New Zealand. Journal of Hydrology (New Zealand), 54(1), 33-52.

Montross, S., Skidmore, M., Christner, B., Samyn, D., Tison, J.-L., Lorrain, R., … Fitzsimons, S. (2014). Debris-rich basal ice as a microbial habitat, Taylor Glacier, Antarctica. Geomicrobiology Journal, 31(1), 76-81. doi: 10.1080/01490451.2013.811316

Howarth, J. D., Fitzsimons, S. J., Norris, R. J., & Jacobsen, G. E. (2014). Lake sediments record high intensity shaking that provides insight into the location and rupture length of large earthquakes on the Alpine Fault, New Zealand. Earth & Planetary Science Letters, 403, 340-351. doi: 10.1016/j.epsl.2014.07.008

Redpath, T. A. N., Sirguey, P., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Kääb, A. (2013). Accuracy assessment for mapping glacier flow velocity and detecting flow dynamics from ASTER satellite imagery: Tasman Glacier, New Zealand. Remote Sensing of Environment, 133, 90-101. doi: 10.1016/j.rse.2013.02.008

MacDonell, S. A., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Mölg, T. (2013). Seasonal sediment fluxes forcing supraglacial melting on the Wright Lower Glacier, McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Hydrological Processes, 27(22), 3192-3207. doi: 10.1002/hyp.9444

Howarth, J. D., Fitzsimons, S. J., Jacobsen, G. E., Vandergoes, M. J., & Norris, R. J. (2013). Identifying a reliable target fraction for radiocarbon dating sedimentary records from lakes. Quaternary Geochronology, 17, 68-80. doi: 10.1016/j.quageo.2013.02.001

Cullen, N. J., Sirguey, P., Mölg, T., Kaser, G., Winkler, M., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2013). A century of ice retreat on Kilimanjaro: The mapping reloaded. Cryosphere, 7(2), 419-431. doi: 10.5194/tc-7-419-2013

Pautler, B. G., Woods, G. C., Dubnick, A., Simpson, A. J., Sharp, M. J., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Simpson, M. J. (2012). Molecular characterization of dissolved organic matter in glacial ice: Coupling natural abundance ¹H NMR and fluorescence spectroscopy. Environmental Science & Technology, 46(7), 3753-3761. doi: 10.1021/es203942y

Howarth, J. D., Fitzsimons, S. J., Norris, R. J., & Jacobsen, G. E. (2012). Lake sediments record cycles of sediment flux driven by large earthquakes on the Alpine fault, New Zealand. Geology, 40(12), 1091-1094. doi: 10.1130/g33486.1

Fitzsimons, S., Mager, S., Frew, R., Clifford, A., & Wilson, G. (2012). Formation of ice-shelf moraines by accretion of sea water and marine sediment at the southern margin of the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology, 53(60), 211-220. doi: 10.3189/2012AoG60A155

MacDonell, S. A., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2012). Observations of cryoconite hole system processes on an Antarctic glacier. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural, 85(4), 393-407.

Pautler, B. G., Simpson, A. J., Simpson, M. J., Tseng, L.-H., Spraul, M., Dubnick, A., … Fitzsimons, S. J. (2011). Detection and structural identification of dissolved organic matter in Antarctic glacial ice at natural abundance by SPR-W5-WATERGATE 1H NMR spectroscopy. Environmental Science & Technology, 45(11), 4710-4717. doi: 10.1021/es200697c

Dubnick, A., Barker, J., Sharp, M., Wadham, J., Lis, G., Telling, J., Fitzsimons, S., & Jackson, M. (2010). Characterization of dissolved organic matter (DOM) from glacial environments using total fluorescence spectroscopy and parallel factor analysis. Annals of Glaciology, 51(56), 111-122.

Barker, J. D., Klassen, J. L., Sharp, M. J., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Turner, R. J. (2010). Detecting biogeochemical activity in basal ice using fluorescence spectroscopy. Annals of Glaciology, 51(56), 47-55.

Anderson, B., Mackintosh, A., Stumm, D., George, L., Kerr, T., Winter-Billington, A., & Fitzsimons, S. (2010). Climate sensitivity of a high-precipitation glacier in New Zealand. Journal of Glaciology, 56(195), 114-128. doi: 10.3189/002214310791190929

Samyn, D., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Lorrain, R. D. (2010). Rotating micro-structures in Antarctic cold basal ice: Implications for glacier flow and its interpretation. International Journal of Earth Sciences, 99, 1849-1857. doi: 10.1007/s00531-009-0478-5

Hambrey, M. J., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2010). Development of sediment-landform associations at cold glacier margins, Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Sedimentology, 57(3), 857-882. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-3091.2009.01123.x

Mager, S., Fitzsimons, S., Frew, R., Samyn, D., & Lorrain, R. (2009). Composition and origin of amber ice and its influence on the behaviour of cold glaciers in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica. Journal of Glaciology, 55(190), 363-372. doi: 10.3189/002214309788608688

MacDonell, S., & Fitzsimons, S. (2008). The formation and hydrological significance of cryoconite holes. Progress in Physical Geography, 32(6), 595-610. doi: 10.1177/0309133308101382

Fitzsimons, S., Webb, N., Mager, S., MacDonell, S., Lorrain, R., & Samyn, D. (2008). Mechanisms of basal ice formation in polar glaciers: An evaluation of the apron entrainment model. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, F02010. doi: 10.1029/2006JF000698

Samyn, D., Svensson, A., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2008). Dynamic implications of discontinuous recrystallization in cold basal ice: Taylor Glacier, Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research, 113, F03S90. doi: 10.1029/2006JF000600

Mager, S., & Fitzsimons, S. (2007). Formation of glaciolacustrine Late Pleistocene end moraines in the Tasman Valley, New Zealand. Quaternary Science Reviews, 26, 743-758. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2006.11.012

Barker, J. D., Sharp, M. J., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Turner, R. J. (2006). Abundance and dynamics of dissolved organic carbon in glacier systems. Arctic, Antarctic, & Alpine Research, 38(2), 163-172.

Turney, C. S. M., Kershaw, A. P., Lowe, J. J., van der Kaars, S., Johnston, R., Rule, S., … Fitzsimons, S. J., … Fifield, L. K. (2006). Climatic variability in the southwest Pacific during the Last Termination (20-10 kyr BP). Quaternary Science Reviews, 25, 886-903. doi: 10.1016/j.quascirev.2005.09.007

Vandergoes, M. J., Newnham, R. M., Preusser, F., Hendy, C. H., Lowell, T. V., Fitzsimons, S. J., … Schlüchter, C. (2005). Regional insolation forcing of late Quaternary climate change in the Southern Hemisphere [Letter]. Nature, 436, 242-245. doi: 10.1038/nature03826

Samyn, D., Svensson, A., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Lorrain, R. D. (2005). Ice crystal properties of amber ice and strain enhancement at the base of cold Antarctic glaciers. Journal of Glaciology, 40, 185-190.

Samyn, D., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Lorrain, R. D. (2005). Strain-induced phase changes within cold basal ice from Taylor Glacier, Antarctica, indicated by textural and gas analyses. Journal of Glaciology, 51(175), 611-619.

Souchez, R., Samyn, D., Lorrain, R., Pattyn, F., & Fitzsimons, S. (2004). An isotopic model for basal freeze-on associated with subglacial upward flow of pore water. Geophysical Research Letters, 31, L02401.

Vandergoes, M. J., & Fitzsimons, S. J. (2003). The Last Glacial-Interglacial Transition (LGIT) in south Westland, New Zealand: Paleoecological insight into mid-latitude Southern Hemisphere climate change. Quaternary Science Reviews, 22(14), 1461-1476. doi: 10.1016/S0277-3791(03)00074-X

Sleewaegen, S., Samyn, D., Fitzsimons, S. J., & Lorrain, R. (2003). Equifinality of basal ice facies from an Antarctic cold-based glacier. Annals of Glaciology, 37(1), 257-262.

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