Department of Geology




16 June 2014: PHD opportunity Chronostratigrahy and cyclostratigraphy of sea-level cycles recorded in mid-Pliocene shallow-marine sediments, Wanganui Basin, New Zealand

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.


7 November 2013: Ocean drilling reveals why the 2011 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake and Fukushima Tsunami were so devastating

15 November 2013: Department of Geology goes spatial with Koordinates subsite. The department now has a subsite with mostly spatial data derived from staff and students research in the Department of Geology.

31 October 2013: Marsden success for geology staff Congratulations to Christina Riesselmann, Dave Craw and Chris Moy: all have been awarded Marsden Funds to start in 2014.

30 October 2013: Ice workshop
Dunedin has hosted a workshop on ice microstructure, rheology and physical properties this week.

30 October 2013: Maori and Mining book launch
Maori & Mining is a book that provides a context to Mining in New Zealand for Maori people, Iwi and others.

4 September 2013: Nietzsche's Butterfly: An Introduction to Chaos Theory (Student Voices: A Blog about science by students, for students at Scitable By Robin Andrews.

31 August 2013: Otago voice in UN climate conference (ODT article)
University of Otago MSc student Jacob Anderson is ''excited'' to have been selected as one of four youth climate change ambassadors to attend a United Nations conference in Warsaw later this year.

25 July 2013: Lecturing from the high seas (Otago Bulletin Board) Geology lecturer Dr Chris Moy has managed what is probably a teaching first at Otago - presenting lectures to his 200/300 level Sedimentology class from a research vessel off the coast of Alaska.

24 July 2013: Dunedin not immune to quakes (ODT Article) Seismic activity on several fault lines near Dunedin could generate similar-sized earthquakes to the 6.5 magnitude quake which hit Wellington, seismologist Dr Andrew Gorman says.

30 May 2013: Haka Valley whale fossils excite experts (ODT Article) Huge fossils hacked out of a limestone quarry in the Hakataramea Valley will help University of Otago researchers provide new insights into a tantalising gap in the evolutionary record of whales and dolphins.

23 May 2013: Starting off the summer with a bang: More man-made maars Read the blog post to find out more info about the controlled explosion experiments that James White has been involved in.

23 May 2013: Discovering Distant Dolphins  Yoshi Tanaka, a PhD student in Palaeontology, talks about how he discovered his love for fossils and his research on fossil dolphins in New Zealand. Listen to the Science notes radio show.

16 May 2013: Congratulations to Virginia Toy who has been awarded a University of Otago ‘Early Career Award for Distinction in Research’. Deputy Vice Chancellor Richard Blakie commented that "this year we had an exceptionally strong field of nominees". Dave Prior said that "Virginia is one of the rising stars of the university - the award is very well deserved".

13 May 2013: Experimental volcanoes make a blast (Nature news article) Controlled explosions could aid monitoring of active eruptions. Volcanologists detonated explosive charges buried in a meadow in Ashford, New York, blowing 12 small craters in the ground and throwing debris 80 metres in the air. The aim was to recreate, in true-to-life detail, what happens when a volcanic eruption punches through Earth’s crust. [James White]

4 May 2013: Marine mammals put Otago on the map (ODT article)

13 April 2013: Research links whales (ODT Article) University of Otago research that shows a northern hemisphere dwarf whale escaped extinction longer than previously thought also supports a theory that a still-surviving southern pygmy whale belongs to the same family. [Bobby Boessenecker]

21 February 2013: Radio NZ Nine to Noon Thursday 21 February 2013 Ewan Fordyce on how the Southern Ocean was a critical location for the evolution of whales and dolphins.

7 February 2013: Stress Change During the 2011 Tohoku-Oki Earthquake from Seafloor Boreholes

18 January 2013: Pelagiarctos thomasi not a "killer" walrus

12 January 2013: Marine-fossil researchers build Otago's profile (ODT article)


30 December 2012: Shedding new light on whale (ODT article)

30 November 2012: The Geosciences 2012 conference at Hamilton

22 November 2012: Excellence awards for Otago pair
The Hutton Medal for earth sciences was awarded to Prof Fordyce for "his seminal contributions in New Zealand vertebrate palaeontology, particularly for whales, dolphins and penguins". (ODT article)

19 November 2012: Ice Electron Backscatter Diffraction (EBSD) in Otago is operational

15 November 2012: University of Otago palaeontologists Ewan Fordyce and Felix Marx explain how whales evolved into the largest animals on earth (Radio New Zealand: Our Changing World)

8 November 2012: Hopi Buttes workshop (21-27 October 2012)

12 October 2012: New Zealand team wins mixed division at the Australian Intercollegiate Mining Games

21 August 2012: Otago researcher heads new Antarctic science foundation [Gary Wilson] (University of Otago Media release)

25 July 2012: Geologist investigating tsunami [Virginia Toy](odt article)

6 July 2012: Student to study pygmy whale [Felix Marx](ODT article)

22 Jun: Alan Cooper's Retirement: June 2012

30 May: Lessons from Japan will aid NZ research (ODT article)

Japan Trench Fast Drilling Project (JFAST) (updated 2 May 2012)

1 Mar: Kairuku - a new "giant" Late Oligocene Penguin from New Zealand

22 Feb: Lessons learned from the Christchurch Earthquakes (a vodcast from Channel 9 News Dunedin, featuring Dr Virginia Toy)

1 Feb: 'Trip of a lifetime' to the Antarctic (ODT article)

17 Jan: City urged against complacency over quakes (ODT article)

17 Jan: Quake talk at 'Hands-on-Science' (ODT article)

17 Jan: Field trip students get down and dirty in St Kilda (ODT article)


Deep Fault Drilling Project > DFDP-1 (updated 28 Jan, 2011)

12 Oct: Finds prove there's life in maars (ODT article)

6 Oct: Geologist hails $915,000 grant (ODT article)

5 Sep: Sediments prove CO2 revelation (ODT article)

6 Aug: Extracting the most from life (ODT article)

07 Jul: James Hector and the Geological Map of Otago (hocken library)

02 Jul: Vanished World marking 10 years (ODT article). See the Vanished World website.

25 Apr: Canadian researcher joins Chch seismic team (ODT article)

23 Mar: Finding Faults (TVNZ:Close up segment)

24 Feb: Magnitude 6.3 Christchurch Earthquake (Links to information)

27 Jan: Geologists drill for answers (TVNZ:Close up segment).

23 Jan: Alpine Fault cored at 7pm on 23rd January 2011 at 90.88m depth in borehole DFDP1a.

15 Jan: Geologists from Otago head for the West Coast to begin preparations for two projects underway there: Drilling at Gaunt Creek and a seismic survey in the Whataroa River Valley (ODT article).


26 Dec: Penguin evolution revisited (ODT article).

18 Nov: Volcanologist Mick May believes it is highly unlikely that the Pink and White Terraces survived the 1886 eruption that engulfed them (ODT article).

22 Oct: In the annual teaching excellence poll organised by OUSA, students voted Professor Alan Cooper as Top Ten Teacher for 2010

6 Sept: Find out more about the magnitude 7.0-7.1 "Darfield Earthquake"(Near Christchurch) (updated 8-9-2010: 10:45 am)

2 Sept: Geology Department seeks Scientific Officer for one-year fixed term position (update: position filled)

9 Aug: Listen to a podcast by the Geological Society of London to hear about the 'Ground breaking research' that earned Prof. Rick Sibson the 2010 Wollaston medal

9 Aug: Geology Department seeks two new lecturers (update: applications closed 1 November)

29 July: Scientists plan to drill deep into Alpine Fault

23 July: News about the sudden death of Andrew Grebneff

29 June: Nathalie Lefebvre has been awarded the Eloise Gerry Fellowship, from the Graduate Women in Science for her study of eruptive processes at maar-diatreme volcanoes in Arizona, USA.

16 June: Carolyn Gorny has been awarded a Postgraduate Research Grant by the International Association of Sedimentologists for her study of subglacial volcaniclastic deposits in Iceland.

16 June: Nathalie Lefebvre has been awarded a Student Research Grant by the Society of Economic Geologists for her study of eruptive processes at maar-diatreme volcanoes in Arizona, USA.

2 June: 2010 Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London awarded to Prof. Rick Sibson

2 June: Midland Valley announces the 2010 Student Structural Prize competition is now open for entries (Closing date:12th December). Find out more at

28 May: New "home" of the Geology Department's seismology and marine geology groups

21 May: Short course by Prof Robert Bodnar on "Fluids in Magmatic-Hydrothermal Systems

19 Feb: Whale evolution driven by diatom evolution and climate change, says Felix Marx, writing in Science magazine


15 Dec: 2010 Wollaston Medal of the Geological Society of London - Prof. Rick Sibson

15 Dec: G B O'Malley Medal - Jennie Stein

10 Dec: Sponsorship offer to attend AusIMM NL conference.

09 Dec: Geosciences ’09 Meeting a resounding success!

01 Dec: Dr Iain Pitcairn, Society of Economic Geologists’ 2009 Waldemar Lindgren Award

23 Nov: Job - CRL Energy, Greymouth

9 Nov: New 3-year grant of Seismic Micro-Technology KINGDOM software 

14 Oct: Geology Department 2009 Photo

13 Oct: Geology Exam dates for Semester 2

9 Oct: Marsden Grant to Andrew Gorman for seismic oceanography (PhD Opportunity)

9 Oct: Fast-start Marsden Grant to Virginia Toy (PhD Opportunity)

29 Sep: Rio Tinto - Mine Geologist Vacancies

23 Sep: Topo50 map series released - Win a Garmin GPS unit

29 Aug: Crunch Zone - The world is watching our Alpine Fault

13 Aug: Junior Geologist Vacancy

7 Aug: Domestic fee status for French and German postgrads

22.Jul: Searchable Database-Publications/Outputs 2006-2008

11 Jul: Otago's graduates searching for gold

08 Jul: AusIMM Scholarship closing 31st July

02 Jul: Marcia Bjornerud

19 Jun: Campbell-White Scholarship winner - Callum Bruce

10 Jun: Foulden Maar project Radio NZ

01 Jun: GEOL344 - Important Notice

09 May: Autumn Graduation

26 May: Job Vacancy: Professor of Geology


01 Jan: Seismic Micro-Technology donates KINGDOM software