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Department of Geology News and events

CT scanning of ice cores

Thursday, 17 March 2016 9:56am

Nathaniel Parsons, Pat Wongpan and Dave Prior ran a successful test of CT scanning an ice core at the hospital this week. This was a precursor experiment to University of Otago funded research to characterise the 3D distribution of air and brine pockets and solid salts in sea ice cores.

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Akatore Fault Trenching

Thursday, 10 March 2016 4:22pm

Over the past two weeks Briar Taylor Silva started her Masters thesis work on the Akatore Fault, supervised by Mark Stirling and Nicola Litchfield (GNS Science).  The project represents the first-ever paleoseismic investigation of the Akatore Fault, which is mapped as the closest major active fault to Dunedin by Andrew Gorman et al.

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Mountain growth helped spawn fish diversity in New Zealand: Otago research

Tuesday, 15 December 2015 10:30am

The growth of mountain ranges on New Zealand’s South Island directly influenced the evolution of different freshwater fish species in the region, according to new University of Otago-led research.

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Harriet Love  2015 Blake NIWA Ambassador - Freshwater Award

Friday, 4 December 2015 9:36am

Since 2008, The Sir Peter Blake Trust - in partnership with Antarctica New Zealand, the Antarctic Heritage Trust, NIWA and the Department of Conservation - has provided opportunities for young New Zealanders to work on projects in Antarctica, the Southern Ocean and New Zealand through the Blake Ambassador Programme.

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Otago researchers describe new North Pacific fossil whale

Wednesday, 2 December 2015 5:27pm

A new species of fossil baleen whale that lived in the North Pacific Ocean 30 to 33 million years ago has been described by researchers from the University of Otago.

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Growing Antarctic ice sheet caused ancient Mediterranean to dry up

Wednesday, 11 November 2015 10:17am

A University of Otago-led international research team has resolved the mystery of the processes involved in the Mediterranean Sea drying up around 5.6 million years ago.

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James White made full Professor

Friday, 6 November 2015 9:57am

Congratulations to James White on his appointment to the position of Professor, effective from 1 February 2016. A thoroughly well-deserved promotion.

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NZ scientists saddle up for 350km Antarctic road trip (NZ Herald Article)

Wednesday, 4 November 2015 11:30am

A bit of Kiwi ingenuity and an epic road trip will ultimately help a team of New Zealand scientists understand how Antarctica's vast Ross Ice Shelf might respond to future warming under climate change.
An Otago University-led research team is this month heading down to the frozen continent, where they'll drive tracked Hagglund vehicles and snowmobiles 350km from Scott Base to a field site atop what, at roughly the size of France, is the world's largest ice shelf.

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Otago researchers to probe secrets of Ross Ice Shelf

Monday, 2 November 2015 4:57pm

A University of Otago-led research team is about to embark on an epic Antarctic research expedition as part of efforts to better understand how the Ross Ice Shelf (RIS) will respond to global warming.

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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.