Marine Geophysics in 2020: Two Voyages on the R/V Tangaroa

The second half of 2020, luckily, was very busy for our Marine Geophysicists with two successful, major cruises.

CSEM for gas hydrates on the Hikurangi Margin, R/V Tangaroa TAN 2012, 1 – 13 Nov. 2020

R/V Tangaroa voyage TAN 2012 aimed at controlled-source electromagnetic (CSEM) survey of gas-hydrate bearing sediment on the southern Hikurangi Margin using Scripps’ system.  Gas hydrate, as an insulator, is known to increase sediment resistivity.  Beyond CSEM, we collected TOPAS sub-bottom profile, water-column echosounder, and multibeam data.

From our group, Ingo Pecher and Laurenz Boettger took part.  The voyage was led by Peter Kannberg at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, with Karsten Kroeger (GNS Science) and Ingo Pecher as co-leaders.  It was funded by the Ministry of Business, Innovation, and Employment (MBIE; Tangaroa Reference Group), the US National Science Foundation and the MBIE Endeavour grant “Economic Opportunities and Environmental Implications of Energy Extraction from Gas Hydrates”.


Chatham Rise pockmarks, R/V Tangaroa TAN 2006, 26 June – 17 July 2020:

R/V Tangaroa voyage TAN 2006 aimed at investigating pockmarks on the Chatham Rise and their potential link to the release of geologic CO2.  We hypothesize that CO2 originating from the subducted Hikurangi Plateau is released episodically during glacial-stage maxima forming pockmarks.

Despite adverse weather, we acquired pseudo-3D seismic data in a 6×2 km2 block (densely spaced 2-D seismic data) and 300 km of 2-D seismic lines using NIWA’s high-resolution seismic system.  Seismic data quality is excellent (see image).  We also acquired almost 3000 km of TOPAS sub-bottom profiler lines and multibeam bathymetry.

Ingo Pecher, Michael Macnaughtan, Laurenz Boettger, and Declan Andrew took part from our group.  The voyage was led by Ingo Pecher and Jess Hillman (GNS Science) and funded by MBIE (Tangaroa Reference Group), the Marsden Fund grant “Geologic champagne: What controls sudden release of CO2 at glacial terminations on the Chatham Rise?” and a GNS Science Large Project Investment Fund.

Image: Example of 2-D line in 3-D seismic cube. We obtained clear images down to basement.

Evolution of Queen Charlotte Sound-Tōtaranui and Tory Channel-Kura Te Au

In mid-July, a team of 4 scientists including Drs Lorna Strachan, Marta Ribó, and BSc Hons student Alysha Jones from the University of Auckland, and Dr Sally Watson of the National Institute of Water and Atmosphere (NIWA) embarked upon a 3-day marine geology voyage to the eastern Marlborough Sounds, located in NE South Island. They were there as part of Project EAST, a new research partnership between the University of Auckland’s School of Environment and NIWA.  Their goal was to collect sediment cores and sub-surface acoustic data to investigate the human impact on the marine environment in Queen Charlotte Sound-Tōtaranui and Tory Channel-Kura Te Au for the last 150 years. In addition they will focus on understanding the deeper time environmental and geological evolution of the region, and the response of the Sound to marine inundation following the Last Glacial Maximum 20,000 years.

The team spent 3 days aboard NIWAs Research Vessel Ikatere in cool, damp, and on occasion rough conditions.  Having spent the last 8 months analysing the spectacular seafloor data of the area (publicly available through the Marlborough District Council website), the scale of Queen Charlotte Sound was awe inspiring.  They traversed the entire Sound from the tranquil upper reaches, where they were surrounded by lithe seals and aerobatic dolphins.  To the mouth, where strong tidal flows and the infamous chop of the Cook Strait provided a different kind of challenge.

The team had a very productive voyage and collected 20 cores, 168 samples and 5 sub-bottom Topas profiles.  Some of these data will form part of BSc Hons student Alysha Jones’ dissertation research.  While the remaining data will be analysed by the rest of the team to further understand the environmental, human and geologic evolution the area.

Deadline 24 July 2020: ANZIC IODP Legacy Analytical Funding

ANZIC IODP Legacy Analytical Funding (AILAF)

Members of the Australian and New Zealand International Ocean Discovery Program Consortium (ANZIC) have the opportunity to apply for grants of up to $20,000 (or $30,000 if leveraged) to support studies of legacy scientific ocean drilling (DSDP, ODP, IODP) material and/or data, through the ANZIC IODP Legacy Analytical Funding (AILAF) program. This successful program has supported many legacy grant projects centred on the analysis of previously collected DSDP/ODP/IODP samples and has facilitated the rapid production of high-quality publications, conference presentations and/or outreach activities.

Current Call:

In 2020, ANZIC will provide a pool of up to AUD$200K worth of funding (and a separate pool of NZD$50K for New Zealand applicants), to be distributed to appropriate projects that can be completed by 15th November 2021. Applications should be proposed that seek analytical fund support of up to $20K, whether these are for sample or data projects. Proposals focussed specifically on data and data product projects that can demonstrate additional leverage towards a project, can apply for up to $30K. In 2020, the AILAF program is being expanded to also include a call for projects that are specifically designed to utilise the wealth of data and data products that have been generated through 50+ years of ocean drilling. Projects with a clear scientific focus, but that require support to make use of these datasets and translate the data into knowledge, are being sought. We expect this will open the call to sections of the scientific community (i.e. data analysts/mathematicians/visual data scientists/ molecular/ genetic analysts) who may not traditionally work in or with the geosciences and therefore not normally apply for ANZIC support. Expected outputs are high-quality publications and/or products, adhering to the FAIR data principles (https://

For further information, proposal templates, etc., please contact Ingo (

Call to Sail Exp. 386, Special call for a Radiolarian specialist

Call to Sail!

Special call for scientists with expertise in radiolarian micropaleontology, preferably with experience in the northwest Pacific region, to apply for Expedition 386. The deadline to apply for this special call is October 11, 2019 at 11:59 PM EDT.

IODP is now accepting applications for scientific participants on Expedition 386 Japan Trench Paleoseismology, aboard a Mission-Specific Platform (MSP) organised by the ECORD Science Operator (ESO) and jointly implemented with the Institute for Marine-Earth Exploration and Engineering (MarE3) within the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC). At this time, it is envisaged that the offshore phase of Exp. 386 will take place on the R/V Kaimei for up to 50 days in spring and/or summer of 2020 (Apr-Aug).

To learn more about the scientific objectives of this expedition please watch this informational webinar held on 20 June 2019 here. More detailed expedition information:

To apply please send through your APPLICATION TO SAIL to Leanne Armand – ANZIC Program Scientist


ANZIC Masterclass, Sydney 2- 10 December, 2019, Year 2 or 3 Students, Deadline 7 October

The ANZIC (Australia New Zealand IODP Consortium) Masterclass is a unique, not-to-be-missed opportunity for Year 2 or 3 students to learn get familiar with the cutting edge of marine geosciences.  Please contact

Lorna ( or Ingo (

if interested.


ANZIC MASTERCLASS 2019, SYDNEY 2- 10 December, 2019.

ANZIC is pleased to announce its 2019 Masterclass in Sydney, hosted by University of Sydney (USYD) and Macquarie University (MQ), 2-10 December 2019.

DESIGN: This course will introduce students to the exciting world of marine geosciences through a combination of practical workshops, geological fieldwork and marine activities. Based around the Sydney Institute of Marine Science (SIMS) the course will cover the background of the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and marine geoscience – delivered by marine geoscientists from Macquarie University, the University of Sydney, and CSIRO.

OPEN TO: The Masterclass is open to one excellent student from each Australian and New Zealand IODP member university who is completing 2nd or 3rd year. Students must provide a short written statement to their University leadership (up to 250 words) stating why they would like to participate in the Masterclass. Selection will be based on academic achievement and perceived benefit to a student’s course of study.

Please refer to the PDF flier in the link for more details: Masterclass_Sydney_2019.02


Marine Geosciences group meeting, Tue. 13 Aug., 1-2 pm

The next Marine Geosciences group meeting will take place at the usual time, 2nd Tue. of the month, 1-2 pm


Tue. 13 Aug., 1-2 pm



Two talks:

Abigail Willis: Examining bioturbation in deep-sea cores to see how quickly biodiversity returns after rapid deposition from a turbidity current:

Lorna Strachan: Disentangling turbidite tails from hemipelagites along the Hikurangi continental margin

Welcome to our new students!

As semester 1 starts here in Auckland we welcome a new group of postgraduate students who are working with us.  We will highlight some of their work through the year, so watch this space.

MSc student Sian Camp pictured here examining sediment core from offshore Hawkes Bay, is working on a collaborative project with Dr Lorna Strachan (UoA @NZseds), Dr Geoffroy Lamarche (UoA @GLamarcheNZ) and Dr Katie Maier (NIWA) . Her research will focus on understanding the offshore depositional system of the Hawkes Bay slope.  Her project forms part of series of projects that will help establish a paleoseismological record for the Hikurangi margin.  This is part of a 5 year MBIE Endeavour funded project ( ).

Sian Camp (MSc student) extracting a u-channel from marine sediment core at NIWA (photo courtesy of @HelenBostock5)

Welcome to MSc Intern Thibault Romao

We would like to extend a very warm welcome to Thibault Romao who is visiting us for 5 months. Thibault, from the University of Bordeaux, is completing a 5 month research internship where he is working with Dr Lorna Strachan (UoA @NZseds) and Dr Helen Bostock (NIWA @HelenBostock5) on a project focussing on the depositional processes in deep-water Antarctica.

Thibault Romao, MSc intern student visiting from the University of Bordeaux.