Geology and geography

sediments research braided river

UC Geography is also one of the top 100 Geography Departments in the World (QS World University Rankings by Subject 2016) and the South Island is an ideal laboratory for many fields of physical geography, such as climate, coastal and alpine studies.

New Zealand, with its history of experimentation in economic and environmental management, social relations and land rights, also has some specific human geographies that repay close research.

The Geothermal Resource Research Group, a research programme housed in the Department of Geological Sciences and the School of Engineering, is focused on gaining insights into the characteristics of geothermal reservoirs (heat source, waters), surface expression of geothermal features, exploration of new geothermal fields / areas of production, and geothermal power generation.

Research strengths

Areas of current research in geoarchaeology and forensic geology include:

  • Non-invasive, non-destructive geophysical mapping of archaeological sites and forensic investigations
  • Investigation of the variability of the geophysical response of archæological sites as a function of climatic and geological setting
  • Investigation of the stratigraphy of archaeological sites
  • Investigation of mineralogic and geochemical signatures to determine provenance of artefacts and made soils
  • Trace element geochemical signatures of New Zealand greenstone
  • Mineralogy and composition of human kidney stones

Research centres and groups

Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Kari Bassett

Senior Lecturer
Sedimentology & Basin Analysis
West 330
Internal Phone: 94495

Areas of current research in tectonics and landscape evolution include:

  • Documenting the structural styles and quantifying rates of active earth movements
  • Modelling geomorphic evolution of fault-driven landscapes
  • Climatic, lithologic, structural and tectonic controls on the occurrence of large deep-seated bedrock landslides
  • Morphostructural evolution of active margin forearc basins 
  • Modeling submarine landscape evolution in response to subduction processes
  • Mapping of bedrock topography
  • Hydrogeology - imaging of vadose (unsaturated) zone processes
  • Glaciology - glacier thickness and internal structure
  • Hydrology - remote determination of river depth and bed morphology

Research centres and groups

Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Jarg Pettinga

Professor
Engineering and Structural Geology
West 325
Internal Phone: 94491

Tim Davies

Professor
Natural Hazards
West 322
Internal Phone: 94508

Kari Bassett

Senior Lecturer
Sedimentology & Basin Analysis
West 330
Internal Phone: 94495

Areas of current research in engineering geology and hydrogeology include:

  • Design of highwalls and pillars for mining
  • Material characterisation and stabilisation
  • Groundwater, spring and resource evaluation
  • Contaminant modelling for landfills
  • Fault, landslide and geohazard studies
  • Environmental waste management

Research centres and groups

Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Marlene Villeneuve

Senior Lecturer
Engineering Geology
West 321
Internal Phone: 94497

Tim Davies

Professor
Natural Hazards
West 322
Internal Phone: 94508

Jarg Pettinga

Professor
Engineering and Structural Geology
West 325
Internal Phone: 94491

Areas of current research in geothermal energy include:

  • The Source to Surface programme (S2S) - characterising the vertical extent of mass and heat transfer from magma source to surface soils
  • Geology - magmatism, volcanism, tectonics
  • Geochemical analysis of fluids to characterising geothermal systems 
  • Geomechanics - permeability, rock properties, drilling optimisation
  • Silica transport and deposition modelling
  • Above-ground geothermal energy systems engineering

Research centres and groups

Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Jim Cole

Research Associate
Volcanology & Volcanic Hazards
West 322
Internal Phone: 94492

Darren Gravley

Associate Professor
Volcanology and Geothermal Systems
West 319
Internal Phone: 94489

Travis Horton

Associate Professor
Environmental Geochemistry
West 318
Internal Phone: 94386

Mark Jermy

Professor
Deputy Head of Department/ Director of Final Year Research & Development Projects
Civil Mechanical E525
Internal Phone: 92276

Ben Kennedy

Associate Professor
Physical Volcanology
West 321
Internal Phone: 94437

Mathieu Sellier

Professor
Head of Department
Civil Mechanical E508
Internal Phone: 92383

Marlene Villeneuve

Senior Lecturer
Engineering Geology
West 321
Internal Phone: 94497

Susan Krumdieck

Professor
Civil Mechanical E509
Internal Phone: 92210