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Taupo-Forming Eruption One Of World's Biggest

Conference Told Taupo-Forming Eruption One Of World's Biggest

New research has found that the eruption that formed modern-day Lake Taupo 27,000 years ago is the world's biggest eruption in the last 75,000 years.

A truly devastating event, the so-called Oruanui eruption blasted out trillions of tonnes of pulverised rock, scorching gases and magma, depositing a mantle of pumice dust across all of New Zealand and the entire southwest Pacific.

Research by leading international volcanologist Dr Colin Wilson, from the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, into the eruption and its thousand-year legacy of catastrophic flooding, will be presented at the Geological Society of New Zealand annual conference being held next week.

The University of Waikato conference brings together about 200 of the country's top geoscientists, with an astounding range of research being discussed over three days.

The conference, which is being held from Tuesday 27 to Thursday 29 November, covers many aspects of geosciences, with sessions including marine processes and deposits, coastal erosion, mining, paleontology, earthquakes, volcanology, past climates, geo-hazards, mineralization and geo-education.

Australian PhD student and Waikato University graduate Erica Hendy will present her research on 500 years of high-resolution climatic change from analysis of corals on Great Barrier Reef, including research on the site where Captain Cook's ship ran aground.

Waikato University's Professor Peter Kamp and his graduate research team will report on their findings on sedimentary sequences in the geologically-famous Wanganui Basin and their relationship to sequences in Taranaki and King Country basins, which are of crucial importance to the oil industry.

Dr Willem de Lange, also of Waikato University and the country's leading tsunami expert, will speak on new ideas about how landslides generate tsunami and the deadly hazards they pose for New Zealand.

Convenor, Associate Professor David Lowe, from Waikato's Department of Earth Sciences, says that the three-day conference will showcase some of New Zealand's leading edge research.

"We are really excited by the diverse programme in store for us and the prospect of learning about much of the outstanding new work that has been undertaken in New Zealand over the past few years. Many advances in fundamental understanding have been made by multidisciplinary research teams operating together or through the application of new technology," said Associate Professor Lowe.

"Probably the most satisfying aspect of the conference for me as convenor will be seeing the interaction between experienced and younger geoscientists, especially our graduate students embarking on their careers," he said.

Scientists of the future are also learning hands-on geoscience skills in secondary schools thanks to a 'Quake Trackers' programme put together by a team lead by Dr Mike Kozuch of the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences, Wellington.

'Quake Trackers' is an education programme that allows students to operate seismographs and obtain earthquake information via a website. The website allows students to share data and includes an interactive programme that teaches basic principles of earthquake location.

Research poster displays, as well as oral presentations, will be on show during the conference, with the scientists on hand to discuss their work.

Further information, including conference programme, is available on the web at: www.gsnz.org.nz/gsco.htm

The conference has been organised over the past 12 months by staff and postgraduate students in Waikato University's Department of Earth Sciences.

ENDS


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