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Our people

Ko Tātou

Head of Department

James White smProfessor James D L White

BA BSc(TCU) MSc(Missouri) PhD(UCSB)

  • Subaqueous and subglacial eruptions
  • Explosive basaltic eruptions
  • Shallow intrusions
  • Volcaniclastic sedimentology
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Ewan Fordyce smProfessor R Ewan Fordyce


  • Vertebrate paleobiology
  • Systematics and phylogeny of Cetacea (whales and dolphins)
  • Cretaceous-Cenozoic paleontology and stratigraphy
  • Paleoceanography and paleoclimates

Dave Prior smProfessor David J Prior

BSc(Wales) PhD(Leeds)

  • Grain Boundary Sliding (GBS) and Earth Rheology
  • The Alpine Fault Zone, South Island, New Zealand
  • Ice microstructure and mechanics

Mark Stirling 2019 thumbProfessor Mark W Stirling

BSc MSc(Otago) PhD(Nevada)
Chair of Earthquake Science

  • Multidisciplinary seismic hazard modelling
  • Seismotectonics
  • Earthquake statistics
  • Tectonic geomorphology
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Emeritus Professors

Alan Cooper smEmeritus Professor Alan F Cooper

BSc(Sheff) PhD(Otago)

  • Metamorphic mineralogy and petrology of the Haast Schists
  • Petrogenesis of carbonatites and the NZ lamprophyre dyke swarms
  • Alpine Fault structure and activity
  • Antarctica

Dave Craw smEmeritus Professor Dave Craw

BSc PhD(Otago) MSc(Calgary) FRSNZ

  • Economic geology
  • Structure and mineralization in the Haast Schists
  • Fluid flow in orogenic belts

Rick Sibson smProfessor Emeritus Richard H Sibson


  • Structural analysis of the 2010–2012 Canterbury Earthquake Sequence
  • Seismotectonics of active compressional inversion in NE Honshu and the physical conditions of seismogenesis along subduction megathrusts
  •  Seismogenesis in the Buller region of active compressional inversion
  •  Earthquake rupturing in fluid-overpressured crust
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Associate Professors

Andrew Gorman smAssociate Professor Andrew R Gorman

BSc(Calgary) PhD(Br Col)

  • Geophysics
  • Crustal controlled-source seismology
  • Marine seismology
  • Gas hydrates

James Scott smAssociate Professor James Scott


  • Meteorites, solar nebula and planetary geology
  • Earth’s mantle composition, history, melting
  • Metamorphism, mineralisation and fluid flow
  • Subduction zones and element redistribution
  • Environmental geochemistry
  • Zealandia’s tectonics
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Senior Lecturers

Candace Martin smDr Candace E Martin

BS(N Carolina) MPhil PhD(Yale)

  • Environmental geology
  • Biogeochemical cycles
  • Radiogenic isotope and trace element geochemistry

Chris Moy smDr Christopher Moy

BSc(Union College, Schenectady) MSc(Syracuse) PhD(Stanford)

  • Paleoclimatology
  • Sedimentology
  • Geochemistry

Christian Ohneiser smDr Christian Ohneiser

MSc PhD(Otago)

  • Paleomagnetism
  • Paleoclimate/ocean reconstructions
  • Antarctic climate evolution

Mike Palin smDr J. Michael Palin

BA(Calif State Fullerton) MS(New Mexico Tech) PhD(Yale)

  • Mineralogy and petrology
  • Geochronology and isotope geology
  • Mineral deposits

Christina Riesselman smDr Christina Riesselman

BA (Nebraska-Lincoln) PhD (Stanford)

  • Cenozoic paleoceanography and paleoclimate
  • Antarctic climate evolution
  • Micropaleontology (diatoms)
  • Geochemical proxies of paleoenvironmental change

Steve Smith smDr Steven A F Smith

MSci PhD(Durh)

  • Structure and mechanical properties of fault zones
  • Fault rock microstructure
  • Deformation experiments
  • Structural Geology
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Marco Brenna smDr Marco Brenna

BSc(W Aust) PhD(Massey)

  • Igneous petrology and geochemistry
  • Volcanology
  • Magma ascent dynamics
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Professional Practice Fellow

Doug MacKenzie smDr Doug MacKenzie

BSc(Toronto) MSc PhD(Otago) MAusIMM CP(GEO)

  • Economic geology
  • Orogenic gold deposits
  • Structure and fluid flow in metamorphic belts
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Teaching Fellow

Sophie Briggs thumbDr Sophie Briggs

BSc(Hons)(Otago) PhD(UCSB)

  • 100- and 200-level teaching
  • Petrology (igneous and metamorphic)
  • Geochemistry
  • Geochronology
  • Tectonics
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Research staff

Alan CooperDr Catherine Beltran

MSc PhD(UPMC Sorbonne Universite)

  • Paleoceanography and paleoclimates
  • Sedimentology
  • Organic geochemistry

Google Scholar Catherine Beltran

Gemma Kerr thumbnailDr Gemma Kerr

BSc(Hons)(St Andrews) PhD(Otago)
Geochemistry/X-ray Lab Technician

  • Geochemical processes in human impacted environments
  • Environmental / low temperature geochemistry and mineralogy
  • Alluvial gold deposits

Google Scholar Gemma Kerr
Tel +64 3 479 7523

Jon LindqvistDr Jon Lindqvist

MSc PhD(Otago)

  • Sedimentology and ichnology
  • On-land southern NZ Cretaceous–Tertiary basin stratigraphy

Mob +64 21 176 2136

Marianne NegriniDr Marianne Negrini

MSc(Zurich) PhD(Tromsø)
Electron Beam Data Technician

Tel (SEM lab) +64 3 471 6097
Tel (Office) +64 3 479 7507

Cathy RufautDr Cathy G Rufaut

Dip. Wildlife Management(Otago) MSc(Victoria) PhD(Otago)

  • Geo-ecology, botany, zoology
  • Mine environmental issues
  • Land rehabilitation
  • Project management and outreach

Tel +64 3 479 7579
Mob +64 27 491 9293

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Honorary staff

Gary Wilson smHonorary Professor Gary S Wilson

BSc BMus PhD(Victoria)
General Manager Strategy, GNS Science

  • Palaeomagnetism
  • Integrated chronostratigraphy
  • Palaeoceanography
  • Palaeoclimatology
  • Stratigraphy, sedimentology and palaeoenvironments'

Nick MortimerHonorary Research Professor Nick Mortimer

BSc, ARSM(Imperial College) PhD(Stanford) FRSNZ
Principal Scientist, GNS Science, Dunedin

  • Igneous, metamorphic and sedimentary petrology
  • Tectonics and stratigraphy
  • Regional geology of Zealandia and Gondwana
  • Scientific writing, graphics and editing

Google Scholar Nick Mortimer

Daphne LeeHonorary Associate Professor Daphne E Lee

BSc PhD(Otago)

  • Cenozoic paleobotany and paleoclimate
  • Invertebrate paleontology (brachiopods)
  • Cenozoic stratigraphy
  • Earth science education

Virginia ToyHonorary Associate Professor Virginia G Toy

BSc MSc(Auck) MPhil(ANU) PhD (Otago)

  • Structure of shear zones
  • Microstructure and texture analysis
  • Coseismic fault rocks
  • SW Pacific tectonics

Felix MarxHonorary Senior Lecturer Felix G Marx

MSci(Bristol) PhD(Otago)

  • Paleontology
  • Marine mammal biology and evolution
  • Baleen whales

Google Scholar Felix G. Marx

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Professional staff

Hamish Bowman smHamish Bowman

Computing and Numerical Simulation Technician

  • High performance computing support
  • Numerical modelling and programming
  • Electronics and scientific instrumentation design and fabrication

Bob Dagg imageBob Dagg

BSc MSc(Otago)
Otago Analytical Core Repository

  • iTrax
  • Geotek
  • Coring equipment
  • Geophysical equipment


Ray MarxRay Marx

BSc MSc(Otago)
Safety Officer / Lab Manager / Field Coordinator

  • Department Health and Safety Officer
  • Department Lab Manager
  • Coordinating field trips

Tel +64 3 479 5695

Fay Nelson sm

Dr Faye Nelson

BSC MSc(Lethbridge) PhD(Otago)
Otago Paleomagnetic Research Facility – Lab Supervisor

  • Paleomagnetic methods
  • Quaternary climate change

Dianne NyhofDianne Nyhof

BSc PGDipSci(Otago)
Curator / Teaching Support / Outreach

  • Curating department collections
  • Teaching support for undergraduate classes
  • Outreach coordinator

Tel +64 3 479 7513

Brent Pooley smBrent Pooley

Petrology Technician

  • thin sectioning and polishing of rock samples
  • equipment maintenance

Tel +64 3 479 7502

Stephen Read smDr Stephen Read

BSc(Hons) DipGrad PhD(Otago)
Geological Mapping Technician

  • mapping equipment and software
  • imagery equipment and software
  • illustration software
  • 3D visualization, modelling and analysis

MarcusRichards_ImageMarcus Richards

Paleontology Lab Technician

  • Fossil Preparation
  • Curation and conservation of collections
  • Geology Museum


Sophie White smSophie White

Paleontology Lab Technician

  • Fossil Preparation
  • Curation and conservation of collections
  • Geology Museum


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Postdoctoral Fellows

Rosie_Cole ImageDr Rosie Cole

MSci(Durham) PhD(Otago)

  • Volcanology
  • Dyke propagation

Google Scholar Rosie P Cole
ArtFisH research

Martina Kirilova 2019 imageDr Martina Kirilova

BSc(Sofi) MSc(Copenhagen) PhD(Otago)

  • Microstructural analysis of fault rocks
  • Raman spectroscopy of carbonaceous material
  • Experimental rock deformation
  • 3D image analysis

Google Scholar Martina Kirilova

Matt Tarling thumbnailDr Matthew Tarling

BSc(McGill) PhD(Otago)

  • Structural Geology
  • Serpentinite fault rocks
  • Raman spectroscopy of serpentinite
  • Experimental petrology

Google Scholar Matthew S Tarling

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Shared Services staff

Nick Theobald_thumb_bioNick Theobald

Finance Associate – Shared Services

Room 1n20 (Thursdays only)

Damian Walls smDamian Walls

Lead Client Services Administrator – Shared Services

  • Departments of Physics, Mathematics and Statistics, Geology
  • Room 109c, Physics, Science 3 Building

Tel +64 3 479 7751
Mob +64 21 279 0951

Paulette Milnes smPaulette Milnes

BA(Hons)(Otago) MA(Victoria)
Client Services Administrator

  • Administration
  • Enquiries

Tel +64 3 479 7519

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