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This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the physical processes that influence volcanic deposits resulting from both effusive and explosive eruptions. Topics range from the magma reservoir and conduit to the final resting place of volcanic deposits and specifically include the physical properties of magmas, dynamics of lava flows and domes, structure and origin of calderas, explosive eruptions, pyroclastic flows and surges, debris avalanches, lahars, submarine volcanism and magmatic hydrothermal/geothermal systems. There is a compulsory field trip for this course run early in February.
This course aims to provide students with an understanding of the physical processes that influence volcanic deposits resulting from both effusive and explosive eruptions. Topics range from the magma reservoir and conduit to the final resting place of volcanic deposits and specifically include the physical properties of magmas, volcano types and scales of volcanism, dynamics of lava flows and domes, structure and origin of calderas, explosive eruptions, pyroclastic flows and surges, debris avalanches, lahars, submarine volcanism and magmatic hydrothermal/geothermal systems.The course begins with a 8-day field trip (including travel days) from late January to early February (provisional 27Jan-Feb 6th) in the Central North Island based on Mt Ruapehu where students will be introduced to field mapping in volcanic settings, making field observations and recording quantitative data, producing maps and cross-sections, and synthesising data into conceptual eruption models and volcano histories. In addition, students will be exposed to the physical volcanological context of geothermal systems. Following the field trip, the course transitions into the first Term of Semester 1 with 6 weeks of seminars, which are run by the students, including setting research reading, posing questions and driving discussion, and giving feedback and reflecting on learning. This is to properly prepare students for Honours’ and Master’s theses.
Students successfully completing this course will:Describe and illustrate spatial and temporal variation in volcanic deposits and describe volcanic facies.Interpret volcanological facies to reconstruct volcanic historiesDiscuss the benefits and limitations of geological interpretations based on physical volcanology observations and experiments.Discover the importance of physical volcanology to related fields such as petrology, geochemistry, geothermal exploration, hazard management, geological engineering.Reflect upon your own volcanological interests and strengths and weaknesses when presenting and discussing volcanological data.
This course will provide students with an opportunity to develop the Graduate Attributes specified below:
Critically competent in a core academic discipline of their award
Students know and can critically evaluate and, where applicable, apply this knowledge to topics/issues within their majoring subject.
Employable, innovative and enterprising
Students will develop key skills and attributes sought by employers that can be used in a range of applications.
Biculturally competent and confident
Students will be aware of and understand the nature of biculturalism in Aotearoa New Zealand, and its relevance to their area of study and/or their degree.
Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.
Subject to approval of the Head of Department.
Students must attend one activity from each section.
8 Day field course Jan/FebSeminar 2 hours per week for the first 6 weeksWeekly reading, discussion boards and feedback
Encyclopedia of volcanoes;
Academic Press, 2000 (Available online through University of Canterbury library).
Course reading • Encyclopedia of volcanoes- on-line available through University of Canterbury library• Assigned journal articles
Prerequisites: GEOL336 or equivalent
Entry RestrictionsNote: entry into this course is by application only. Please see Ben Kennedy for application form.
Domestic fee $1,066.00
International Postgraduate fees
* All fees are inclusive of NZ GST or any equivalent overseas tax, and do not include any programme level discount or additional course-related expenses.
For further information see
School of Earth and Environment on the department and colleges page.