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Environmental Geology carried out by staff and students in the Department of Geology at the University of Otago applies geologic knowledge to identify, remediate, and tease apart environmental situations linked to physical and chemical conditions.

For more information about Environmental Geology research, please contact:

Dr Cathy Rufaut

Professor James Scott


Drainage systems are not necessarily permanent features of the landscape. Find out how geological processes affect drainage systems across different spatial scales. Drainage systems that change over time can isolate local species and can be used to study molecular change, such as in freshwater fish. Find out also about the South Island's only saline lake (Sutton Salt Lake) and the environmental evolution of saline surfaces in Central Otago.

Metals in the New Zealand environment

Heavy and dangerous metals are naturally occurring in many geological formations and especially in mineralised zones. Often the process of mining can enhance the concentrations in the environment.

Mine rehabilitation

Mining is a fundamental component driving IT and Green economies. Geological resources vital for technological advancements in transport and energy use must be extracted via mining. How can resource extractions be done that cause the least possible harm to local environments and their communities? Find out about our rehabilitation research in Otago at an active gold mine (Macraes Gold Mine) and a closed coal mine (Wangaloa) where geological knowledge is helping inform rehabilitation practices and solutions.

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