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Geology news archive 2014

Otago researchers find new whale genus (ODT article)

Thursday, 20 November 2014 4:48pm

Painstaking detective work by University of Otago paleontologists has led to the discovery of a previously unknown genus of ancient baleen whales. Otago geology department PhD student Robert Boessenecker and his supervisor, Prof Ewan Fordyce, have named the new genus Tohoraata, a Maori word translated as ''Dawn Whale''.

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Ancient NZ ‘Dawn Whale’ identified by Otago researchers

Wednesday, 19 November 2014 11:06am

University of Otago palaeontologists are rewriting the history of New Zealand’s ancient whales by describing a previously unknown genus of fossil baleen whales and two species within it.

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Marsden grant awarded to Daphne Lee to study ancient Kauri amber

Friday, 7 November 2014 11:51am

We have known about the abundant brownish-yellow resin/kauri gum in NZ coal deposits for well over a century. However, because it is typically opaque and full of bubbles, no-one had ever been able to see any fossils in it. Our colleague Alexander Schmidt in his amber laboratory in Goettingen developed a technique for making NZ amber translucent, and our pilot study on Miocene Central Otago amber has revealed a huge diversity of exquisite 3-dimensionally-preserved organisms.

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Royal Society honours four Otago researchers (ODT article)

Thursday, 30 October 2014 9:24am

Four University of Otago researchers, Profs Catherine Day, Ewan Fordyce, Neil McNaughton and Iain Raeburn, have been elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

Prof Fordyce, of the geology department, was ''New Zealand's leading vertebrate palaeontologist and a world leader in research on the evolution of whales, dolphins and penguins''.

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Alpine drilling fault project moves into new phase

Monday, 20 October 2014 10:17am

The multi-national Alpine Fault drilling project has moved to a new phase with a new drilling rig positioned over the borehole to take the probe to its target depth of 1.3km

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Geologists study cliff face for cause of second slip (ODT Article)

Saturday, 20 September 2014 12:00am

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'Unique' porpoise washes up on peninsula (ODT Article)

Friday, 19 September 2014 11:18am

A 2.15m-long male spectacled porpoise, one of the world's most rarely seen marine mammals, was found on Pipikaretu Beach by Penguin Place guide Tama Taiti on Wednesday morning.
University of Otago geologist Prof Ewan Fordyce said fewer than 10 spectacled porpoises had washed ashore on New Zealand's coast and it was the first his research team had seen.

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Answers being sought for whale strandings (NZ Herald Article)

Thursday, 18 September 2014 12:00am

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Predicting the next Big One (ODT Article)

Sunday, 17 August 2014 2:59pm

University of Otago geologist Dr Virginia Toy is keen to shed new light on the likely effects of a predicted huge earthquake on the Southern Alps fault system.

Dr Toy, a senior lecturer in structural geology, is one of three co-leaders in a major international scientific venture, the Deep Fault Drilling Project, at the Southern Alps.

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Giant penguin in mint condition (ODT Article)

Saturday, 9 August 2014 11:25am

An extinct giant penguin species discovered by University of Otago geologist Prof Ewan Fordyce has been emblazoned on a collectable coin recently issued by New Zealand Post.

It is believed to be the first time the research findings of an Otago University academic have been featured in this way.

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Otago scientists part of planned deep drill probing of Alpine Fault

Wednesday, 25 June 2014 11:08am

A New Zealand-led international science team that includes University of Otago geologists is planning to drill a 1.3km-deep hole into the Alpine Fault in the South Island later this year to find out more about the nature of the fault and the earthquakes it produces.

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Strange marine mammals of ancient North Pacific revealed

Thursday, 6 February 2014 9:01am

The pre-Ice Age marine mammal community of the North Pacific formed a strangely eclectic scene, research by a University of Otago Geology PhD student reveals.

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Otago researchers reveal new NZ fossil dolphin

Wednesday, 22 January 2014 12:49pm

A newly recognised fossil dolphin from New Zealand, dubbed Papahu taitapu, is the first of its kind ever found and may be a close relation to the ancestors of modern dolphins and toothed whales, according to University of Otago researchers.

Other News

4 April 2014: What’s a biologist doing in the Ice Lab?

7 March 2014: What do staff do all summer?

5 March 2014: Hope to build $3m subantarctic research station
Establishing a $3 million research station on the Auckland Islands will benefit New Zealand through a better understanding of the likely impact of climate change, researchers say.

21 February 2014: Focus on quake origins through study of ice
By studying the microstructure of ice, University of Otago scientists hope to gain new insights into the origin of earthquakes, deep below the Southern Alps.

7 February 2014: Otago student's whale of a find

23 January 2014: Pamphlet puts Alpine Fault on a tectonic plate

23 January 2014: Fossil hot spot bears new dolphin The discovery of a previously unknown dolphin species highlights the South Island's growing international reputation as a hot spot for finding ancient marine mammal fossils, Prof Ewan Fordyce says.