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Researchers To Examine Earth History Around NZ

Researchers To Examine Earth History Around NZ

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Wellington, New Zealand, 3 February, 2005 – Rivers continually move particles and dissolved matter from backyards, fields and mountains to the oceans. A team of researchers from Canada, New Zealand and the U.S. are heading back to sea to examine the seafloor record of Earth history near New Zealand, and an interactive web site will follow the exploration (http://coastal.geology.ecu.edu/nz). This research project, funded by the National Science Foundation’s Source to Sink Initiative of the MARGINS Program, seeks to better understand how materials are transported from land to sea. This knowledge is critical to evaluating the impact of human activities on the oceans.

Faculty, staff and students from East Carolina University, Skidaway Institute of Oceanography, Duke University, the Virginia Institute of Marine Science, the Geological Survey of Canada, New Zealand’s National Institute of Water & Atmospheric Research, and several New Zealand universities including the University of Canterbury, University of Otaga, University of Waikato and Victoria University of Wellington are participating.

The team will work aboard a new U.S. research vessel, the RV Kilo Moana, off the east coast of the North Island, where the Waipaoa River enters the sea near Gisborne. Instruments will image the seafloor surface and sediments below, and samples will be collected at selected sites to examine the sedimentary record. Evidence of past submarine landslides, volcanic eruptions, great storm events, and human activities is anticipated.

“This oceanographic expedition provides an excellent opportunity to assess how events and changes on land are preserved in the sea,” said Dr. J.P. Walsh an Assistant Professor in the Department of Geology and Coastal Resources Management Program at East Carolina University.

The public is invited to follow the research effort and learn about life aboard a working research vessel by visiting the interactive web site where journals, photos and other information are provided.

Questions can be posed to scientists at sea by writing oceanexplorationnz@mail.ecu.edu. Research begins Feb. 4 and will continue until Feb. 15. The web site will remain accessible after cruise completion.


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