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OCEN323 Marine Geology and Geophysics

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 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,858.95

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EAOS 111, GEOL 112 and one of (OCEN 201, GEOL 263, GEOL 272, GEOL 273)
Recommended Preparation
OCEN 301
Schedule C
Teaching staff
Course Co-ordinator: Dr Christina Riesselman
Teaching Fellow: Dr Pete Russell
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

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Second Semester

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 Tuesday 14:00-17:50 28-34, 36-41