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Lecturing from the high seas

Tuesday 23 July 2013 8:05am

chris moy skype lecture image
Geology lecturer Dr Chris Moy "skypes" his 200/300 level Sedimentology class from a research vessel off the coast of Alaska. Photo: Sharron Bennett.

Geology lecturer Dr Chris Moy has managed what is probably a teaching first at Otago - presenting lectures to his 200/300 level Sedimentology class from a research vessel off the coast of Alaska.

The 90 students involved watched Dr Moy "skype" his lectures last Monday and again yesterday from the Joides Resolution in the Gulf of Alaska on the impact of glaciation on the production of sedimentation in the oceans; directly linked to the research being done on board. He is also video linking with a class from the University’s Advanced School Sciences Academy.

Dr Moy is one of 341 scientists on the ship who are interested in the inter-relationship of climate change caused by the advance and retreat glaciers, changes in subsequent erosion rates, and mountain building events.

He says the St Elias mountains off the coast of Alaska, the highest coastal range in the world at 5490 metres, is an ideal location to study these interconnections, and to communicate it ‘live’ to his students.

Around 2.5 million years ago there was a significant drop in global temperature, resulting in an advance of glaciers in the Northern Hemisphere. Scientists believe this may have caused more erosion, contributing to the development of the St Elias mountains and sedimentation of ocean basins.