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Department of Geology News and events

Otago researchers identify new NZ fossil whale species

Friday, 11 September 2015 11:41am

University of Otago palaeontology researchers are continuing to rewrite the history of New Zealand’s ancient whales by describing two further genera and three species of fossil baleen whales.

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Otago climate researcher wins inaugural science award

Tuesday, 8 September 2015 9:09am

University of Otago researcher Dr Christina Riesselman was tonight awarded the inaugural L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science New Zealand Fellowship.

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Sandbox experiments used to model orogenic wedges in GEOL275/375 Rock deformation lab

Friday, 21 August 2015 1:29pm

The rock deformation class (Geol275-375) made some orogenic wedges this week: shortening layers of sand in a box to create folds and thrusts. It’s what structural geologists call an analogue model.

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Acoustic mapping shaking things up in South Dunedin (ODT Article)

Wednesday, 5 August 2015 10:53am

Trail-blazing geological research which started yesterday is expected to shed light on previously unknown earthquake risk factors, including a possible ancient fault zone, under South Dunedin.

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Acoustic tool tested before polar research (ODT Article)

Monday, 3 August 2015 10:06am

Many new vehicles have been tested at Cardrona's Southern Hemisphere Proving Grounds but, until Saturday, they have moved on wheels, not skis.

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11 Otago students sponsored to attend NZ Hydrographic Society Seminar

Friday, 10 July 2015 8:58am

In June, 11 students from Otago were sponsored to attend the New Zealand Region (NZR) of the Australasian Hydrographic Society (AHS) Annual Seminar celebrating the theme of World Hydrography Day: “Our seas and oceans – still to be explored and charted”.

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New seismic source "thumper" tested at Waikouaiti Beach

Friday, 12 June 2015 9:42am

After a few initial delays, we made it out to Waikouaiti Beach to finally test our new seismic source! The new weight drop seismic source (a thumper) will be used for research on seismic hazards with focus on identifying buried faults, determining sedimentary basin and aquifer geometries and evaluating rock formations for landslide hazards.

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Secrets of ancient NZ volcanoes revealed (NZ Herald Article)

Thursday, 11 June 2015 12:31pm

The world was left captivated by an island that was rapidly and dramatically created by an underwater volcanic eruption in Tonga in March. But new research has suggested something similar - yet perhaps more remarkable - once took place right here in New Zealand. Ben Moorhouse (Otago PhD student) has revealed the bizarre history of ancient eruptions from different volcanoes over millions of years apart

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Subduction Thrust Investigation of New Zealand using Geothermics and Seismics (STINGS) Cruise

Monday, 8 June 2015 1:48pm

The objective of this science cruise is to collect heat flow and seismic reflection data offshore the eastern margin of the North Island, New Zealand to develop a better understanding of this region, known as the Hikurangi subduction zone.

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Ganges river dolphin distant cousin of ancient New Zealand one

Tuesday, 2 June 2015 12:00pm

A newly described ancient marine dolphin fossil from the Waitaki region is of the same superfamily as the endangered Ganges river dolphin, according to University of Otago research.

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Otago appoints first Professor of Earthquake Science

Wednesday, 20 May 2015 12:52pm

A leading New Zealand seismologist has been appointed as the University of Otago’s inaugural Professor of Earthquake Science.

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Otago researchers reveal the Taieri’s hybrid history

Tuesday, 19 May 2015 11:10am

New Zealand’s iconic Taieri River is a river of two halves, according to a surprising new study led by University of Otago scientists.

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University of Otago Large Lake & Fjord Coring System

Tuesday, 28 April 2015 10:51am

The Geology Department recently acquired a UWITEC® percussion piston corer and coring platform that will be used to obtain continuous sediment cores from large lakes and fjords in New Zealand and abroad.

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Whale family tree catalogued (ODT Article)

Friday, 17 April 2015 10:35am

New University of Otago research is providing the most comprehensive picture of the nearly 40million year-long evolutionary history of baleen whales, which are the largest animals ever to live on Earth. The study also reflected the importance of ancient marine mammal research being undertaken at the university, Prof Ewan Fordyce, of the Otago geology department, said.

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Otago research details 40 million-year-old family tree of baleen whales

Wednesday, 15 April 2015 4:37pm

New University of Otago research is providing the most comprehensive picture of the evolutionary history of baleen whales, which are not only the largest animals ever to live on earth, but also among the most unusual.

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Otago scientists funded to study effects of warming on Antarctic ice cover

Monday, 2 March 2015 11:38am

Two new research projects led, and another co-led, by University of Otago scientists are set to improve the understanding of how Antarctica’s ice cover will change as the world warms. 

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Oldest fur seal identified, ending 5-million-year ‘ghost lineage’

Thursday, 12 February 2015 10:24am

The oldest known fur seal has been discovered by a University of Otago Geology PhD student, providing a missing link that helps to resolve a more than 5-million-year gap in fur seal and sea lion evolutionary history.

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Deep Fault Drilling Project 2 News

Wednesday, 14 January 2015 8:45am

The Deep Fault Drilling Project (DFDP) is an international science experiment studying the Alpine Fault in western South Island. “DFDP-2” refers to the second phase of the Deep Fault Drilling Project and to the 1.3 km-deep borehole that is intended to be drilled during this phase of the project.

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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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Otago academics elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand

Wednesday, 29 October 2014 2:58pm

Four leading University of Otago academics are among the 12 top New Zealand researchers and scholars in basic and applied science and the humanities newly elected as Fellows of the Royal Society of New Zealand.

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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