Wooster Geologist in New Zealand

1 IMG_0692Many of our students enjoy a semester or year abroad during their college time. Andrew Wayrynen ’17 is right now in New Zealand, one of the favorite destinations of Wooster geologists. He has generously shared some of his recent geological images with this blog. The striking section above is part of the “Pancake Rocks“, which are exposed on the west coast of the South Island of New Zealand near the village of Punakaiki. This is an Oligocene limestone that has been diagenetically altered by compaction and eroded into steep-sided shapes by freshwater dissolution and marine influence.
2 IMG_0700What looks like bedding in the Punakaiki Limestone is actually the effect of dissolution of the carbonate caused by immense overburden. One of our favorite Wooster geologists, structural guru George Davis, has a recent paper on this process (Davis, G.H. 2014. Quasi-flexural folding of pseudo-bedding. Geological Society of America Bulletin 126: 680-701.)
3 IMG_0978Andrew also visited the Moeraki Boulders on the Otago coast of the South Island. These are large spherical concretions weathered out of a Paleocene mudstone known as the Moeraki Formation.

4 IMG_0979These are septarian concretions, a type characterized by a three-dimensional network of mineral-filled cracks, as shown in Andrew’s image above.

6 IMG_0987Like the liberally-educated geologist he is, Andrew did not neglect to show the marine organisms encrusting some of the intertidal boulders. These, of course, are barnacles.

5 IMG_0986And finally, here is Andrew, happily seated on a Moeraki Boulder in a geologist’s paradise!

About Mark Wilson

Mark Wilson is a Professor of Geology at The College of Wooster. He specializes in invertebrate paleontology, carbonate sedimentology, and stratigraphy. He also is an expert on pseudoscience, especially creationism.
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2 Responses to Wooster Geologist in New Zealand

  1. Bill Reinthal says:

    And, for those lucky enough to get to New Zealand, don’t forget to go see the Alpine Fault, defining the Southern Alps’ abrupt junction with the coastal plain, and the Lake Taupo supervolcano site, near Rotorua, home to impressive hot spring activity, similar to that around Yellowstone. Both are easily visible on Google Earth for those planning their next jaunt to the deep, deep south. And, of course, don’t forget to go outside and view the constellations of the Southern Hemisphere! One of my favorite Google Earth images is on the North Island, too, here: -39.29964 174.0655 (you’ll have to zoom back out to an “eye alt” of about 60 km for the most striking view) for a clear picture of man vs. nature.

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