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Controlled-source seismology research at the Department of Geology

Our research is primarily in applied controlled-source seismology (acquisition, processing and interpretation) for both terrestrial and marine seismic data. Please use the links on the side of this page to explore our current topics of interest and to investigate opportunities to join us as a postgraduate student.


Andrew Gorman sm

Assoc Prof Andrew Gorman


Hamish Bowman

Hamish Bowman – Research Assistant

  • MSc (Marine Science) pending University of Otago
  • Role: research support for marine geophysical operations and seismic analysis lab


Current students

James Ashley

James Ashley – MSc (on hold)

  • BSc (Geophysics, VUW) - 2010
  • Research topic: New Zealand surface heat flow and its tectonic implications (Co-supervised by Dr. Rob Funnell, GNS Science, Lower Hutt)


Joanna Cooper

Joanna Cooper - PhD

  • BSc (Geology, Calgary) – 2006, BSc (Geophysics, Calgary) – 2006
  • MSc (Geophysics, Calgary) - 2010
  • Research topic: Seismic oceanographic imaging of water masses associated with the Sub-tropical Front off the SE coast of the South Island (Co-supervisor: Assoc Prof Ross Vennell, Marine Science.)


Erin Dlabola

Erin Dlabola - MSc

  • BS (Geology, Juniata College, Huntingdon, PA, USA) – 2011

Research topic: Understanding Last Glacial Maximum sediment accumulations in the New Zealand fiords from gravity coring and seismic data (Co-supervised by Prof. Gary Wilson)


Douglas Fraser

Douglas Fraser - PhD

  • BSc (Physics, Otago) - 1993
  • MSc (Geophysics, VUW) - 2001
  • Research Topic: Seismic characterisation of hydrate / shallow gas systems associated with active margin sediments in the Pegasus Sub-basin, Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (Co-supervised by Ingo Pecher, University of Auckland)


Andy Holt

Andy Holt - MSc

  • BS (Earth Science, Emporia State, KZ) – 2008

Research topic: Seismic characterisation of the Clutha River sedimentary wedge on the Otago continental shelf (Sponsored by Hardie Resources.)


Jeremy Kilner - MSc (on hold)

  • BSc Hons. (Geology, Otago) - 2005
  • Research topic: Seismic imaging of eastern Otago active fault structures (Co-supervised by Prof Richard Norris.)
  • Presently at Xstrata Nickel in Quebec; thesis submission pending


Angus King - MSc (on hold)

  • BSc (Geology, Otago) – 2009
  • Research topic: Quaternary paleoclimatic and paleoseismic signatures from South Westland, New Zealand
  • Thesis submission pending.

Primary Supervisor: Gary Wilson


Adrienn Kovacs

Adrienn Lukacs- PhD

  • Diploma (MSc) (Engineering Earth Sciences, University of Miskolc, Hungary) - 2008
  • Research topic: Seismic characterisation of the Alpine Fault at Whataroa, Westland


Patrick Lepine

Patrick Lepine - MSc

  • BSc (Geology, Otago) – 2013

Research topic: Seismic characterisation of the sedimentary fill of the Whataroa glacial valley in the vicinity of the Alpine Fault, Westland.


Christine McLachlan

Christine McLachlan - MSc

  • BSc (Geology, Otago) – 2012

Research topic: Characterisation of the Saunders Ridges, Possible Otago Shelf transgressive beach ridges (Co-supervised by Prof. Gary Wilson)


Ben Ross

Ben Ross - MSc

  • BSc (Geology, Otago) – 2013

Research topic: Glacial processes on the eastern fiords of the Auckland Islands (Co-supervised by Prof. Gary Wilson)


Matt Vaughan

Matt Vaughan - PhD

  • BSc Hons (Earth Sciences, Dalhousie, Canada) – 2011

Seismic characterisation of sea ice (Co-supervised by Prof. David Prior and Prof. Pat Langhorne, Physics)

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Former students and researchers

Tim Lennon – MSc 2014

  • BSc Hons. (Applied Physics and Electronics, NUI Galway) - 2005

Research Topic: Geophysical exploration offshore Stewart Island (supported by a TEC Enterprise Scholarship sponsored by GeoSphere Ltd., Lower Hutt.)

Callum Bruce – MSc 2013

  • Research topic: Seismic imaging of natural gas occurrences and migration pathways in the seafloor of the Reinga Basin, west of Northland.

Betina Flemming BSc(Hons) 2012

  • Research Topic: Characterisation of the modern sand wedge on the South Otago shelf (Co-supervised by Dr. Chris Moy).

Matt Smillie - MSc -2012

  • BSc (Geology, Otago) – 2008
  • Research topic: Reprocessing marine multi-channel seismic data to image water masses in the Great South Basin.

Daniel Jones - MSc 2011

  • BSc (Geology, Otago) – 2009
  • Research topic: The Geophysical Characterisation of the Foulden Hill Maar, Central Otago, New Zealand

Primary Supervisor: Gary Wilson

Paul Viskovic - MSc 2010

  • BSc (Geology, Otago) - 2006
  • Research Topic: Fluid flux through the seafloor of the Great South Basin (supported by a TEC Enterprise Scholarship sponsored by OMV New Zealand Ltd., Wellington.)
  • Presently at GNS Science in Lower Hutt

Kirsty Tinto – PhD - 2010

  • BSc Hons. (Geology, Oxford) - 2003
  • Research topic: Marshall Paraconformity
  • Primary Supervisor: Gary Wilson
  • Presently at Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University, New York

Amy Shears - MSc (Environmental Science) - 2010

  • BSc Hons.
  • Research topic: Characterisation of the sediment budget of Otago Harbour. (Co-supervised by Abby Smith, Department of Marine Science.)

Callum Bruce – BSc Hons -2010

  • Research topic: Shallow marine seismic characterisation of coast-parallel faulting south of Dunedin

Miko Fohrmann - PhD - 2009

  • Diplom (Geology, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich) - 2003
  • Research topic: New Zealand Gas Hydrates (Co-supervised by Dr. Ingo Pecher, Heriot-Watt University and GNS Science.)
  • Presently at GNS Science, Lower Hutt

Gareth Crutchley - PhD - 2009

  • BSc Hons. (Geology, Otago) - 2004
  • Research topic: Seismic analysis of gas hydrate "sweet spots" on the Hikurangi Margin. (Co-supervised by Dr. Ingo Pecher, Heriot-Watt University and GNS Science)
  • Presently at Geomar, Kiel, Germany

Matt Hill - MSc - 2007

  • Research topic: Geophysical and Geomorphological mapping of present and past landscapes, Lake Rotoiti, Nelson Lakes. (Co-supervised by Prof. Gary Wilson.)
  • Presently at GNS Science, Lower Hutt

Kim Senger - BSc Hons - 2006

  • Research topic: Seismic interpretation of the Canterbury slope to identify links between gas hydrate occurrences and slope stability.

Lisa Johnston - MSc - 2006

  • Research topic: McMurdo Ice Shelf Seismic Reflection Experiment, Antarctica. (Co-supervised by Dr. Gary Wilson.)

Hamish Blakemore - MSc - 2006

  • Research topic: Shallow seismic investigation of the Oreti River aquifer, Southland.

Anna Leslie - MSc - 2006

Resources for controlled source seismology research

Seismic analysis facilities comprised of:

  • Linux-based networked PC environment.
  • GLOBE Claritas seismic processing software.
  • Kingdom Suite seismic / geological interpretation package.
  • A 48-channel Seistronix RAS-24 seismograph system.
  • RV Polaris II equipped with state-of-the-art navigation capabilities is used for sedimentological, structural and oceanographic research in coastal waters.
  • Marine geophysical equipment maintained by the Geology Department and used on board RV Polaris II includes:
    • Geometrics MicroEel 24-channel hydrophone streamer and Geode recording system
    • Teledyne-Benthos integrated towfish containing
      • C3D bathymetric sidescan system
      • 2 – 20 kHz CHIRP sub-bottom profiling system

Additional geophysical equipment including a Worden gravimeter, a Geometrics G-856AX proton precession magnetometer, electrical exploration equipment, a shallow penetration seismic unit, short- and long-period seismographs, and GPS equipment.

Software Documentation

Andrew Gorman