Field Trip to New Zealand
April 26th - May 10th, 2016
New Zealand is one of Earth’s geologically most dynamic countries. Professor Claudia Schröder-Adams and Beth Halfkenny journeyed with 11 undergraduate and 5 graduate students to the North Island of New Zealand to explore its geological history. Students witnessed active processes such as volcanic eruptions, hydrothermal activity, marine sediment transport systems, the island’s dynamic sea-level and climate history and its beautiful natural history, among others. The trip started at the Auckland Volcanic Field and ended at the famous Waitomo Caves. The following images reflect on some unforgettable highlights (Images taken by C. Schröder-Adams unless noted otherwise).
Waiutapu Thermal Field, part of the Taupo Volcanic Zone.
Transport to White Island, an active volcano in the Bay of Plenty.
White Island had erupted the night before our arrival and our group placed the first footsteps into a fresh layer of ash. Standing at the heavily steaming crater wall created much excitement. The fieldtrip leader was relieved to have all back safe and sound on board our vessel after the visit.
We needed masks with filters to avoid breathing in the fine silica-rich ash that still remained in the atmosphere.
Waipatiki Beach, Pacific Coast. Here we study uplifted marine strata of Pleistocene age, their sea-level history and rich fossil communities.
Classic turbidite sequences of the Whakataki Formation of Miocene age near Castlepoint, Pacific Coast. Students measure the entire sequence and interpret the depositional history of this fantastic outcrop.
Each day a student gave a presentation on a related topic to deepen the group’s understanding of New Zealand’s geological history. We always picked particularly nice presentation spots. Their growing knowledge together with daily outcrop observations and interpretations, photographs and drawings resulted in field guides for the North Island that were a pleasure to read and mark.
Tongariro National Park offers a superb example of an active volcanic landscape. Here the group has hiked to the Tama Lakes at the foot of Mount Ruapehu, presently under alert. The lake in the background is an ancient crater.
Highlight of our stay in the Tongariro National Park was the completion of the 19 km hike following the Tongariro Crossing. The pass leads to exceptional volcanic features resulting from recent eruptions. Here a view of the Emerald Lakes (photo by Michael Thompson).
Presentation in one of New Zealand’s natural environments, dominated by tree ferns: a fitting place for a presentation on New Zealand’s paleoflora.
Elephant Rock and its surrounding cliffs at the Tasman coast is a classic Miocene deep water sequence that reveals interesting structural elements related to a complex tectonic history of the Taranaki Basin.
A collapsed limestone cave in the Waitomo region, where limestone deposition, cave features and karst landscapes were studied. A mystical place to visit.
Entering a cave, one of the many Waitomo caves. Although the caves are widely known due to their spectacular glowworm communities, their speleothems are equally interesting.