Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

OCEN323 Marine Geology and Geophysics

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, a selection of on-campus papers will be made available via distance and online learning for eligible students.
Find out which papers are available and how to apply on our COVID-19 website

Uses rocks, sediments, microfossils, tectonic principles, and the geophysical properties of rock, sediment and water to examine time and change in the marine environment. Applies global processes to local settings.

The seafloor holds clues to the history of our planet. Join us in OCEN 323 to unravel the mystery.

Our journey begins with the tectonic processes that drive the birth and death of ocean basins, forming mid-ocean ridges and sculpting continental shelves. Then we dive deep, using geophysical tools to explore what lies beneath the seafloor and also the structure of the water column. Next, we progress to the continental margins, where we explore sedimentation and coastal hazards. Finally, we look into the past, seeking to understand the history of our oceans using paleoceanography.

Along the way, you will become comfortable using tools like GeoMapApp to visualise marine geological data, build skill in the critical evaluation of scientific literature, and design and carry out your own research project, starting with field work aboard the University's research vessel Polaris II. We think you'll love this voyage of discovery.

Paper title Marine Geology and Geophysics
Paper code OCEN323
Subject Oceanography
EFTS 0.15
Points 18 points
Teaching period Semester 2 (On campus)
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,092.15
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $5,004.75

^ Top of page

EAOS 111, GEOL 112 and one of (GEOL 263, GEOL 272, GEOL 273, OCEN 201)
Recommended Preparation
OCEN 301
Schedule C
Teaching staff

Course Co-ordinator: Dr Christina Riesselman
Professor Abby Smith
Associate Professor Andrew Gorman

The Ocean Basins: Their Structure and Evolution (online access through Otago University Libraries)
The Sea Floor: An Introduction to Marine Geology (online access through Otago University Libraries)
Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Environmental literacy, Information literacy, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Understand and describe the processes that govern ocean basin formation
  • Understand and differentiate the major types of marine sediments
  • Understand the concept of geologic time
  • Understand the physical and biological controls on geochemical cycling of elements in the marine environment
  • Describe Otago's New Zealand coastal sediments and explain the processes that govern regional sediment distribution
  • Apply methods for marine geophysical data collection and marine geological sampling
  • Critically evaluate scientific journal articles from the marine geoscience literature
  • Collect, assess, synthesise and present data in writing, tables and figures

^ Top of page


Semester 2

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41
Tuesday 10:00-10:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Monday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41