GEOL357-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021

Topics in New Zealand Geology

15 points

Start Date: Monday, 19 July 2021
End Date: Sunday, 14 November 2021
Withdrawal Dates
Last Day to withdraw from this course:
  • Without financial penalty (full fee refund): Sunday, 1 August 2021
  • Without academic penalty (including no fee refund): Friday, 1 October 2021


This course examines New Zealand geology in a regional and global context of tectonics, climate, and oceanographic events. Topics covered will include tectonics, resources and the geological development of New Zealand. The course aims to develop student’s research, presentation and written communication, and geological synthesis skills, and to build an understanding of New Zealand geology relevant to our future. This course is seen as a capstone course for BSc students, and useful preparation for those going on to postgraduate study.

2021 Covid-19 Update:
Please refer to the course page on AKO | Learn for all information about your course, including lectures, labs, tutorials, field trips and assessments.


This course examines New Zealand geology in a regional and global context of tectonics, climate, and oceanographic events. The lectures aim to provide a broad basis of related scientific framework on a general scale as well as place New Zealand into the global context. Students will draw on their existing knowledge of geology to examine and assess key questions in New Zealand geology. Students will also complete an individual literature based research project at improving presentation and scientific writing skills.

Topics covered will include tectonics, resources, and the geological development of New Zealand and will be covered in discrete modules through the course, and students will be expected to complete reading assignments associated with lectures. The course aims to develop student’s research, written and oral communication and geological synthesis skills, and to build an understanding of New Zealand geology relevant to our future.

Learning Outcomes

  • Goal of the Course
    Students should gain an understanding on the major geological processes that shaped New Zealand through a discussion of the tectonic development at convergent and divergent plate margins and be able to critically assess and utilize geological evidence and place New Zealand into a global context.

    Learning Outcomes
    Students successfully completing this course will be able to:
  • Evaluate the tectonic evolution of New Zealand and the role of plate boundary dynamics
  • Evaluate selected Cenozoic palaeoclimate events and their likely causes, and explain their expression in New Zealand rocks  
  • Articulate aspects of the petroleum characteristics of New Zealand basins
  • Interpret, critically assess aspects of New Zealand resource geology
  • Prepare and present poster and extended abstract on an individual topic as preparation for future tasks in the workforce or during postgraduate studies
  • Evaluate the scientific literature and its contribution to advancement of science.
    • University Graduate Attributes

      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.

      Globally aware

      Students will comprehend the influence of global conditions on their discipline and will be competent in engaging with global and multi-cultural contexts.


Any 45 points at 200 level from GEOL.

Timetable Note

Week # - Week starting - Lectures (1 hr) - Lecturer - Labs TBC (2.5 hrs selected weeks)

29 - 19th July - Introduction & NZ Basement terranes - CMR - No lab
30 - 26th July - NZ Basement terranes - CMR - Library research session
31 -  2nd Aug - NZ carbonate sedimentology records (basinal) - CMR - ASC 1: Poster development
32 -  9th Aug - NZ carbonate sedimentology records (Oligocene and glauconite) - CMR - ASC 2: Writing skills
33 - 16th Aug - NZ vertebrate palaeontology - PS/VDP - Poster presentation (10%)
34 - 23rd Aug - Pliocene to recent palaeoseismic records/NZ Quaternary climate records - CMR -   No lab
37 - 13th Sept - Taranaki Basin/TBC - KNB - Editing
38 - 20th Sept - Taranaki Basin/TBC - KNB - Review paper due (15%)
39 - 27th Sept - Hikurangi Margin - JRP - ASC 3 - Peer review
40 -  4th Oct - Hikurangi Margin - JRP - Peer review due (10%)
41 - 11th Oct - Pacific Arc- ARN  
42 - 18th Oct    Pacific Arc - ARN - Final paper due (10%)

Course Coordinator

Catherine Reid


Jarg Pettinga , Alex Nichols , Kari Bassett , Jamie Shulmeister , Paul Scofield (Canterbury Museum) and Vanesa De Pietri (Canterbury Museum)


Assessment Due Date Percentage 
Research Poster (Due Week 33) 15%
Review Paper Draft (Due Week 38) 15%
Peer review (Due Week 40) 8%
Final Paper (Due Week 42) 12%
Final Exam 50%

Internal assessment in GEOL357 is based around individual literature based research which will be presented both as a poster (15% of course assessment) and a review paper (total 35% of course assessment). All students will present their poster during the lab session in term three. All students will then submit their review paper in the second week of term four, and this will be marked and partly edited by academic staff and you will review and edit one of your classmate’s submissions. You will then get both sets of edits back and be able to re-submit your final version.

Research Poster 15% Due date: Week 33
Review Paper Draft 15%   Due date: Week 38
Peer review 8%   Due date: Week 40
Final Paper 12%   Due date: Week 42

Textbooks / Resources

Course reading
Weekly reading to be advised and students are expected to complete this reading in their own time. The lecture material and the provided reading will be assessed through written essays in the final formal exam


Lectures: one lecture per week
Practicals: 2.5 hour tutorial or practical sessions as timetabled (see weekly planner)

45 points from GEOL240-246. GEOL351 and GEOL352 are highly recommended.

Indicative Fees

Domestic fee $910.00

International fee $4,438.00

* 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.

Minimum enrolments

This course will not be offered if fewer than 30 people apply to enrol.

For further information see School of Earth and Environment .

All GEOL357 Occurrences

  • GEOL357-21S2 (C) Semester Two 2021