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Dr Faye E Nelson

Faye Nelson headshotEmail: faye.nelson (a) otago.ac.nz

PhD title:
Paleomagnetic record of the last million years of climate and oceanographic change in the New Zealand sector of the South Pacific. (PhD 2011)

PhD supervisor: Gary Wilson

(graduated August 2011)
 
 
 
 
 

Current Research Focus

I am an Assistant Research Fellow (Marine Science). My current research focus is the paleomagnetism and environmental magnetism of piston cores from southern New Zealand and the NZ subantarctic islands.

Research Interests

My research interests lie in the geological record of Quaternary climate change and the application of paleomagnetic methods to dating and correlation and as proxies for environmental change.
Specifically,

  • Marine records of early Pleistocene terrestrial glaciation.
    • Are Southern Alps events synchronous with Northern Hemisphere (N.H.) glaciations?
    • Is there a hemispheric lead/lag in the onset or termination of glaciations?
    • What is the role of insolation forcing?
  • Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) and deglacial signals in the marine record.
    • Oceanographic or atmospheric linkages between NZ and Antarctica?
    • Is the timing of abrupt climate events synchronous or asynchronous with N.H. events?
  • Developments of techniques that better remove the environmental signal from relative paleointensity records.
  • Hydrodynamic sorting of magnetic minerals; implications for current speed and near-shore paleobathymetry.
  • Magnetic grain-size; comparison of magnetic and other methods of determination, relationship between magnetic grain-size and mean sortable silt/whole sediment distribution.

PhD Research

New Zealand and its continental shelf are situated in a unique position to track changes in the global ocean and climate system. New Zealand spans the subtropical and subantarctic currents and intercepts and deflects both westerly winds and the westerly Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC). The ACC influences global ocean circulation and is considered to be a major climate driver. Furthermore, the New Zealand landmass presently contributes almost two percent of the global ocean sediment load per year. Rain and wind erosion (heightened by New Zealand’s position as a barrier in the South Pacific) and tectonics (e.g., uplift caused by collision of the Pacific and Australian plates) contribute to New Zealand’s high sedimentation rates. As a result, ocean sediment in the New Zealand sector of the South Pacific have the potential to record very high resolution records of both terrigenous and marine input that forms a globally relevant, Southern Hemisphere paleoclimate record.

Long sediment cores were collected from the banks of submarine Hokitika Canyon off New Zealand’s West Coast during the MD152 MATACORE research cruise (Figures 1 & 2). Three cores (30-45m long) from the MATACORE cruise form a transect along Hokitika Canyon at various depths (1000->3000m) and record up to one million years of earth’s geological and climatic history (Figure 3). In addition, shorter cores were collected during NIWA’s West Coast Canyons II cruise. The paleomagnetic laboratory at Otago is equipped with a high-sensitivity, high-resolution cryogenic magnetometer suitable for long core samples. During the cruises, I assisted in collecting u-channel samples from the cores for a range of paleomagnetic and environmental magnetic analyses, including automated closely spaced measurements of natural remanent magnetism, alternating field demagnetisation, anhysteretic remanent magnetism and magnetic susceptibility. Remanent magnetism can provide a high-resolution (sub-millennial) chronology for the climate records through the determination of secular variation and paleointensity changes as well as the application of the more traditional magnetic polarity reversal stratigraphy.

Magnetic susceptibility (the magnetisability of a substance) can indicate changing types and concentrations of magnetic minerals, which in turn indicates the source of the minerals and/or the type of weathering the minerals underwent. Glacial conditions in the Southern Alps contributed non-oxidized, physically weathered minerals. Fieldwork in the Southern Alps aided in identifying the signatures of terrestrially-derived minerals in the cores.

New Zealand’s offshore sediment record is an ideal matrix for environmental magnetic proxy indicators of paleoclimate. Magnetic properties of sediment cores can be used to better understand the dynamics of New Zealand’s continental margin (e.g., catchment and canyon evolution through time) and its record of climate change. Hokitika Canyon provides an opportunity to understand the continuum of processes that affect paleomagnetism and environmental magnetism off New Zealand’s South Island West Coast on sub-millennial timescales.

Figure 1: R/V Marion-Dufresne II about to embark on the MD 152/MATACORE -Tectonic and climatic controls on sediment budget- cruise (Hobart, Tasmania – Auckland, NZ) (January 24-February 6, 2006).Figure 1: R/V Marion-Dufresne II about to embark on the MD 152/MATACORE "Tectonic and climatic controls on sediment budget" cruise (Hobart, Tasmania – Auckland, NZ) (January 24-February 6, 2006).

Figure 2: Calypso piston coring system. The lead weight (up to 10 tonnes) drives the core pipe into marine sediment. The longest core recovered on this cruise was over 39 m long (MD06-2987).Figure 2: Calypso piston coring system. The lead weight (up to 10 tonnes) drives the core pipe into marine sediment. The longest core recovered on this cruise was over 39 m long (MD06-2987).

core locations Core locations

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Publications

Fox, B. R. S., Wartho, J., Wilson, G. S., Lee, D. E., Nelson, F. E., & Kaulfuss, U. (2015). Long-term evolution of an Oligocene/Miocene maar lake from Otago, New Zealand. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16(1), 59-76. doi: 10.1002/2014GC005534

Nelson, F. E., Wilson, G. S., & Neil, H. L. (2013). Marine magnetic signature of the Last Glacial Maximum and last deglaciation from the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes. Marine Geology, 346, 246-255. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2013.09.011

Nelson, F., & Wilson, G. S. (2011). Magnetic grain-size proxy for Pleistocene East Antarctic deep water inflow to the south Challenger Plateau, New Zealand. Proceedings of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) General Assembly: Earth on the Edge: Science for a Sustainable Planet. Retrieved from http://www.iugg2011.com/abstracts/abstracts.html

Jackson, Jr, L. E., Nelson, F. E., Huscroft, C. A., Villeneuve, M., Barendregt, R. W., & Ward, B. C. (2010). Volcanism and age constraints on pliocene and early quarternary Cordilleran ice sheet advances, Fort Selkirk area, west-central Yukon, Canada. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. 42(5), (pp. 362). [Abstract]

Nelson, F. E., Barendregt, R. W., & Villeneuve, M. (2009). Stratigraphy of the Fort Selkirk Volcanogenic Complex in central Yukon and its paleoclimatic significance: Ar/Ar and paleomagnetic data. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 46(5), 381-401. doi: 10.1139/e09-025

Journal - Research Article

Fox, B. R. S., Wartho, J., Wilson, G. S., Lee, D. E., Nelson, F. E., & Kaulfuss, U. (2015). Long-term evolution of an Oligocene/Miocene maar lake from Otago, New Zealand. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 16(1), 59-76. doi: 10.1002/2014GC005534

Nelson, F. E., Wilson, G. S., & Neil, H. L. (2013). Marine magnetic signature of the Last Glacial Maximum and last deglaciation from the Southern Hemisphere mid-latitudes. Marine Geology, 346, 246-255. doi: 10.1016/j.margeo.2013.09.011

Nelson, F. E., Barendregt, R. W., & Villeneuve, M. (2009). Stratigraphy of the Fort Selkirk Volcanogenic Complex in central Yukon and its paleoclimatic significance: Ar/Ar and paleomagnetic data. Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences, 46(5), 381-401. doi: 10.1139/e09-025

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Conference Contribution - Published proceedings: Abstract

Nelson, F., & Wilson, G. S. (2011). Magnetic grain-size proxy for Pleistocene East Antarctic deep water inflow to the south Challenger Plateau, New Zealand. Proceedings of the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics (IUGG) General Assembly: Earth on the Edge: Science for a Sustainable Planet. Retrieved from http://www.iugg2011.com/abstracts/abstracts.html

Jackson, Jr, L. E., Nelson, F. E., Huscroft, C. A., Villeneuve, M., Barendregt, R. W., & Ward, B. C. (2010). Volcanism and age constraints on pliocene and early quarternary Cordilleran ice sheet advances, Fort Selkirk area, west-central Yukon, Canada. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs. 42(5), (pp. 362). [Abstract]

Nelson, F. E., Wilson, G. S., & Neil, H. L. (2009). Magnetite grain-size trends, Challenger Plateau, New Zealand. In D. Barrell & A. Tulloch (Eds.), Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication. 128A, (pp. 151). Wellington, New Zealand: GSNZ. [Abstract]

Nelson, F. E., Wilson, G. S., & Shipboard Party. (2009). Environmental magnetism and excursion record of the Pleistocene-Holocene transition in marine cores, West Coast South Island, New Zealand. Geophysical Research Abstracts, 11, 430. Retrieved from http://meetingorganizer.copernicus.org/EGU2009/meetingprogramme

Wilson, G., Nelson, F., Ohneiser, C., Quinn, A., Robbins, J., & Zeeden, C. (2007). Paleomagnetic research at Otago: Looking beyond the geomagnetic polarity time scale. In N. Mortimer & L. Wallace (Eds.), Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication. 123A, (pp. 182). Wellington, New Zealand: GSNZ. [Abstract]

Nelson, F. E., Wilson, G. S., & et al (2007). Preliminary palaeomagnetic record from Hokitika Canyon levee, New Zealand sector of the South Pacific. In N. Mortimer & L. Wallace (Eds.), Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication. 123A, (pp. 112). Wellington, New Zealand: GSNZ. [Abstract]

More publications...