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Petrology research in the Department of Geology

Virginia Toy doing fieldwork on the Anita Ultramafics in Fiordland National Park. Fieldwork on the Anita Ultramafics in Fiordland National Park.

New Zealand is an outstanding place to study igneous and metamorphic petrological processes. This is because an extremely wide array of different rock-types and crustal levels are exposed as a result of New Zealand having been built up on the Paleozoic and Mesozoic paleo-Pacific margin of Gondwana, rifted away in the Cretaceous, and then sheared during Miocene imposition of the Australia-Pacific plate boundary (Alpine Fault).

To understand how the crust and mantle have behaved, we examine rocks from a field through to a microscopic scale. Fieldwork underpins our research – this enables us to visit some of the most beautiful localities in the world (mainly New Zealand, of course!). The analytical side of research is supported by an electron microprobe and a LA-ICP-MS. A clean lab has just been set up.

Follow the links below for some examples of our research projects:

Please refer to our publications for more insights into our research.

Sunset on schist within the Southern Alps
Sunset on schist within the Southern Alps