Friday, September 11, 2009

Group's "Best of" Photo Album

Everyone from the field-trip is invited to post their 10-20 favourite photos from our journey through New Zealand in a Group Photo Album. (A slide-show from the photos posted so far is displayed in the gadget above.) Each participant should have received an email invite from Picasa, which contained a link for editing the group album to add photos; if you didn't, then let me know.

Friday, September 4, 2009


A fantastic trip comes to an end...


Elephant Rocks


Anatini Fossil Whale Site

Pillow Basalts


Old Rifle Butts

Megan Ortega tells us about the depositional history of the Miocene in
this area. Great examples of brachipod beds and oncoliths.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Kaiki Lighthouse

Seals and Yellow-Eyed Penguins

Moeraki Boulders

Met up with former UM grads Megan and Jesse Ortega at Moerakai Boulders, who are now at the University of Ortago.  The boulders are massive spherical concretions.


Spent a great couple hours on a guided, hands-on tour at the aquarium at University of Otago's Portobello Marine Laboratory. Lots of interesting facts and stories from our guide, as well as numerous live demonstrations of predator versus prey! Nice to see live versions of what we study in rocks, and learn about their life-cycles and feeding habits.

Taiaroa Head

Stewart Island Shags and Northern Royal Albatross colonies at Taiaroa Head. Its the time of the year when the albatross chicks are leaving their nests for several years at-sea before they return home to socialize and start breeding. We saw three albatross chicks who were mostly napping while we were there, though they make for quite impressively sized "chicks"; their parents were out looking for food. Other chicks had already taken off and left the colony earlier this week, and soon other adults will be returning to start the breeding season anew.

Tunnel Beach

Thwarted! Its lambing season, and the trail to Tunnel Beach passes through private pasture land. To keep the sheep from being disturbed at this important time, the trail is closed at this time of year. Its interesting to note that on the North Island we were seeing lambs everywhere in the paddocks, whereas we've seen very few on the South Island, especially over the last couple days; just as one would expect with Spring a bit further off as we moved to higher, more southerly latitudes.

Good Morning

Our backpackers lodge is situated on a hill, just up from the
"Octagon", the city center, so we saw a very nice sunrise this
morning. Unfortunately the sun went behind the clouds shortly
thereafter, and now it's starting to drizzle.

Leaving this morning should be fun, as the street in front is worthy
of Lombard Street in San Francisco. Walking down the aisle of the bus
to get off last night was a bit like skiing downhill; today it will be
a mountain climbing expedition to get on-board and a luge ride down to
the Octagon.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Dunedin puts us back in our first major urban area since Wellington,
though finding internet here late at night has neen a challenge.
Ingrid had to resort to a McDonalds for her AGU abstract submission.

Were planning a late start tomorrow so that we can organize a new
agenda, as we were expecting to be starting from Te Anau.

Fossil Whale Lookout

Mitchells Cottage

Great example of early 19th century stone architecture (schist).

Clyde Dam

Old Cromwell

All that's left of old Cromwell above the waterline after the Clyde Dam was worked on during the 70's thru the 90's, finally being flooded out in the early 90's. Old buildings were moved here to preserve something of the original town. Very strong opinions about whether the dam was a good idea or not; it was clearly rushed through with inadequate planning and geologic/environmental studies, given the number of problems they have to subsequently address.

Nevis Bluff

Intrusions in schist.

Group Photo

For all of you melting in the heat back in Michigan...


Were back on the road to Queenstown, but we have snow, rather than
rain today.

No Milford

After 50cm of snow last night -- and it's still falling -- we won't be
heading over to Milford today. Instead, eastwards to Dunedin as our

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

AGU Abstract Deadline Approaching!

Carla submits the first of several AGU abstracts planned by field trip

Miscellaneous Photos - 1

Some miscellaneous photos from earlier in the trip: Hope Fault landscape; mountain influenced clouds at Kiakoura; Ingrid Hendy and Chris Hendy; the group at Franz Josef Glacier.

What's on the Tube?

When you walk into a place for dinner, and everyone is facing the television watching the weather report, then you know something unusual is going on. Apparently the national weather person was in town doing the weather report from down the street. But also of interest, however, was the fact that he was supposed to be doing it from Milford Sound, where we would like to get to tomorrow. The current snowy conditions and a small mud-slide have closed the road for now though. Odds on it being open tomorrow were given as 50-50. We also learned that this is the wettest its been around here at this time of year in the last ten years. If the road doesn't re-open tomorrow, then we'll move on from Te Anau (where we are tonight and were planning to round-trip from tomorrow), and we'll have to skip Milford sound, the fjord geology, and our water-sampling boat trip. Instead we'll view some more of the geology traveling eastward across Southland and spending the night in Dunedin. We'll decide tomorrow morning, after we get the official word on the road at 7:30am...

Nearing Te Anau

Been a long day of driving, and it's been raining on and off, so we
haven't seen much this afternoon out the bus's foggy windows. We're
almost to Te Anau where we are spending the night

Lunch in Wanaka

A very windy lunch in Wanaka!

Mount Iron

360-degree view of a variety of glacial features and history.

Lake Hawea Moraine

Rain and Waterfalls

The forecast is pretty wet/snowy the next couple of days. We probably won't be going to Milford sound because the pass is currently closed. May substitute a south coast route instead. This morning we crossed the Alpine fault right after breaking "camp", we are descending past spectacular waterfalls and gorges along the Haarst River: Thunder Falls, Gates of Haarst, and Fantail Falls.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Fran Josef Glacier

Great views of the glacier and related geologic features! Too much
recent rain, causing high river levels, to get get any closer to the
base of the glacier.

Origins of Life

Barrytown Placers

High tide and strong winds have conspired to block access to the
placers to which we were headed. Also a good view of Greenland Group
forming headlands.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

End of Day 8

A happy, dry, well-fed cleaning crew after dinner at Tu Nikau Retreat.


The weather was very windy and rainy, however, the pancake rocks and blowholes were still very impressive.


The storms have caught up with us again. We're altering our agenda a
bit to try and avoid getting too soaked.

Evison's Wall

Testing the Alpine Fault for creep.

Alpine fault

Pull apart basin

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Adelphi Lodge

It's unusually warm here. Not as much snow up on the mountains, and
gusts to nearly 200km/hr earlier today in town, though very calm out now.

Grocery shopping done. Next several meals sorted and boxed up. Now just boiling water for eggs, and enjoying the extensive Far Side collection decorating the kitchen area.

K-T Boundary at Woodside Creek



Karl's Welcome Song

Audio of Karl's welcoming song.


South Island

Goodbye Wellington

Waiting for the Ferry

Well be sailing on the Arahura.