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Department of Geology News and events

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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Deep Fault Drilling Project 2 News

Sunday, 19 October 2014 10:37am

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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Scientific drilling project underway on Alpine Fault

Monday, 6 October 2014 12:39pm

An international team of scientists, including Otago researchers, has started drilling a 1.3km-deep borehole into the Alpine Fault in the South Island to find out more about the nature of the fault and the earthquakes it produces.

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

Saturday, 20 September 2014 11:50am

An engineering geologist was lowered down a Kakanui cliff face along Beach Rd south of Oamaru yesterday morning to inspect the site of a second slip of limestone into the sea.
Waitaki District Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said Geosolve senior engineering geologist Mark Walrond and geologist James Griffiths examined the cliff face to check its stability following the early-September slip.

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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 11:16am

The ear bones from two whales stranded in the Far North are being examined by an expert to see if seismic testing caused the marine mammal deaths.

The bones were sent to Professor Ewan Fordyce, from the geology department at Otago University, who was to examine them to see if there was any sign of seismic, sonar, or other human intervention that might have caused the deaths. Professor Fordyce said he could have answers by today.

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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 10:01am

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.

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International research reveals causes of Fukushima tsunami

Friday, 6 December 2013 9:09am

Research from the University of Otago along with a team of international scientists, has shown for the first time that fine sediment clay within the Japan Trench plate boundary megathrust fault, was a key factor in triggering the devastating Fukushima tsunami in March 2011.