School of Environment


Marine Geosciences


Over 95% of New Zealand is covered by ocean.  New Zealand has one of the world’s largest exclusive economic zones (EEZs) containing a huge variety of geologic features.  Scientific exploration of our EEZ is still in its early stages and exciting discoveries have been made in recent years by a number of international and domestic surveys.  Further surveys are planned in the next few years, including scientific drilling by the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP).  Our research also benefits significantly from commercially acquired data made available to the science community by the New Zealand government.  We are engaged in studying seafloor and sub-seafloor processes via sediment cores and geophysical data, followed up by geochemical, sedimentological, geomorphological, and tectonic analyses.  Results lead to improved understanding of seafloor processes such as sub-seafloor fluid flow, carbon cycling, submarine hazards, accumulation of marine geologic resources, geologic foundation for seafloor biologic communities, and more generally, the tectonic evolution of the New Zealand continent.

Our research topics


  • Offshore sedimentary systems (quantitative sedimentology of sediment cores, facies analysis; gravity-flow modelling; quantitative geomorphological analysis of bathymetry data)
  • Submarine landslides
  • Sub-seafloor fluid flow
  • Cold seeps and authigenic carbonates
  • Gas hydrates (future energy source; role in seafloor stability; feedback with climate change)
  • Tectonics (rifts and subduction zones)

Key staff