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Staff and students at the Paleomagnetic Research Facility


Dr Christian Ohneiser

Christian graduated from the University of Otago with PhD in Geology in 2012. After graduating he held a short research post at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia (INGV) in Rome before joining Shell as an exploration geologist.

His research interests focus on developing precisely time calibrated, high-resolution paleoclimatic sedimentary records and understanding the rate of climate change. Current projects span from the Antarctic margin and Southern ocean to the Pacific equator. Recent work has focused on developing new paleomagnetic dating tools in the form of calibrated, high resolution, Relative PaleoIntensity (RPI) records for the Cenozoic which are the building blocks for stacked records from which to build precise chronologies in successions spanning periods with infrequent geomagnetic reversals.

Dr Faye Nelson

Faye graduated from the University of Otago with a PhD in Geology in 2011. As the paleomagnetic technician she provides training and technical support for research facility users.

Otago Paleomagnetic Research Facility technician
BSc, MSc (Lethbridge), PhD (Otago)

Honorary Professor Gary Wilson, Lab Founder

In 2003 Gary founded the Otago Paleomagnetic Research Facility in the Geology Department at Otago. This involved the design and construction of the shielded room and installation of a 2G Enterprises Superconducting Rock Magnetometer (SRM). In 2020 it remains the only SRM in New Zealand.

Gary remains involved in research at the paleomagnetic research facility and is affiliated with University of Otago as an Honorary Professor.

Gary graduated from Victoria University of Wellington with bachelor's degrees in Science and Music and a doctorate in Geology. Since graduating in 1993, he has taught at the University of Nebraska, The Ohio State University and Oxford University.

His research interests focus on increasing the resolution of understanding of Antarctic ice sheet and climate history and their role in the evolution and development of global climate. Fieldwork takes him all over the Southern Hemisphere from the South Pole to the Atacama Desert. He has participated in more than two dozen scientific expeditions to Antarctica including the multinational ANDRILL (Antarctic drilling) project.


Current Students

  • Donna Condon: Paleocurrent reconstruction at the Antarctic margin (MSc)
  • Rowena Schenck: Holocene climate records from Port Pegasus, Stewart Island (MSc)
  • Olivia Truax: A paleomagnetic, geochemical, and diatom based record of Holocene paleoclimate evolution from Robertson Bay, Antarctica (PhD)
  • Caroline Wilsher: Eocene-Oligocene climate sensitivity reconstructed using sediments from Winton Basin, Southland (MSc)

Past Students

  • Guilia Airoldi: Magma injection dynamics in the shallow Ferrar LIP (South Victoria Land, Antarctica) (PhD 2011)
  • Michael Bollen: Holocene-Pleistocene paleoceanography in the Ross Sea, Antarctica (MSc)
  • Genevieve Coffey: Investigating the timing and intensity of past earthquake activity on the southern Alpine Fault using soft-sediment deformation structures (MSc 2015)
  • Rosie Cole: Glaciovolcanism in Tongariro National Park, North Island, New Zealand (PhD)
  • Bob Dagg: Greensand at the Marshall paraconformity (MSc 2010)
  • Regan Dillon: Cyclostratigraphy of late Oligocene - early Miocene strata an example from the Waiau Basin, western Southland, New Zealand (MSc 2006)
  • Erin Dlabola: A post-glacial relative sea level curve for Fiordland, New Zealand (MSc 2014)
  • Luke Easterbrook-Clarke: The Alpine Fault Zone Along the Waitangi-taona River, West Coast, New Zealand (MSc 2010)
  • Vegar Einvik-Heitmann: Unravelling the Secrets of the Subantarctic Auckland Island Inlets: An Environmental Magnetic Study of a Holocene Sediment Core (PGDipSci 2015)
  • Beth Fox: Climate change at the Oligocene/Miocene Boundary (PhD 2013)
  • Hamish Fraser: Glacial extent on Campbell Island at the last glacial maximum (PGDipSci 2009)
  • Emilie Guégan: Shallow intrusion conditions in a flood-basalt province: Coombs Hills, Ferrar Province, Antarctica (MSc 2006)
  • Cara Lembo: Environmental change during early Holocene Fiordland (MSc 2019)
  • Pont Lurcock: Palaeomagnetism of Palaeogene strata from southern Zealandia: Implications for ice in the greenhouse (PhD 2012)
  • Sam Maloney: Volcanology of the Lake Wanaka diatreme in the Alpine Dike Swarm, New Zealand (MSc 2016)
  • Henry Mannering: Pleistocene to Pliocene Deep Water Circulation, in the Southern Ocean offshore of the Pennell Coast (PGDipSci)
  • Jasmine Mawson: Paleomagnetism of the Waipiata Volcanics at Mt Mackenzie (BSc(Hons) 2016)
  • Faye Nelson: Paleomagnetic records of the last two million years of climate and oceanographic change in the New Zealand sector of the South Pacific (PhD 2011)
  • Christan Ohneiser: Chronology of the middle Miocene climatic deterioration (MSc 2006); Late Neogene evolution of the Antarctic cryosphere as derived from paleo- and environmental- magnetic studies of New Harbour drill cores (PhD 2012)
  • Alissa Quinn: High resolution environmental magnetism of short sediment cores from Lake Tekapo, New Zealand (PGDipSci 2004); Environmental magnetic signature of the Waipaoa system, offshore Hawkes Bay, over the last few millenia (MSc 2007)
  • Peppe Re: Evolution and dynamics of a monogenetic volcanic complex in the southern Hopi Buttes Volcanic Field (AZ, US): magma diversion and fragmentation processes at the
    Jagged Rocks Complex (PhD 2017)
  • Jesse Robbins: Global relative paleointensity & regional paleosecular variation: high resolution signals in New Zealand marine sediments (MSc 2006)
  • Nicole Stannard: Reconstructing ancient current strength in the Ross Embayment (PGDipsci)
  • Rosalie Steffen: Malaspina Fiord (PGDipSci 2012)
  • Claudio Tapia: Calibrating the Southern Hemisphere Glacio-Eustasy Record (PhD 2013)
  • Kirsty Tinto: A geophysical investigation of the Marshall Paraconformity in South Canterbury, New Zealand (PhD 2010)
  • Olivia Truax: A paleomagnetic, geochemical, and diatom based record of Holocene paleoclimate evolution from Robertson Bay, Antarctica (MSc)
  • Christian Zeeden: Application of paleomagnetic methods to identify and date the Matakaoa submarine avalanche, offshore East Cape, New Zealand (BSc(Hons) 2006)