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New Zealand Branch – Nelson Discussion Group – The Southern Alps of New Zealand: An Integrated Picture of an Evolving Plate Boundary

Join the Nelson Discussion Group to hear from guest speaker Dr Phaedra Upton on the 12th of August.

Date: Wednesday 12th August 2020

Time: 5:00pm Networking/Cocktails for 5:30pm Start

Speaker: Dr Phaedra Upton, (GNS Science, Lower Hutt)

Constance Barnicoat Room,
Richmond Library,
280 Queen St,

Parking: On site behind the library

Cost: Free to attend

Includes: Cocktails

RSVP: Please RSVP your intention to attend by email to Carol Foote by Monday 10th August, for catering purposes.



The central South Island has long been a favourite site to study and model oblique continental collision, because the orogen is young, narrow, and a single structure, the Alpine Fault, takes up >70% of relative plate motion. The orogen is highly asymmetric and varies along strike as the nature of the two colliding plates change along the boundary.

Dr Upton will explore the 3D structure and kinematics of the orogen, and discuss how regional deep-seated tectonic processes of mountain building are geodynamically interconnected with climate, landscape, and near-surface geological processes that create local fluid flow, effective stress, and temperature anomalies. 

Please Note: Dr Upton will be visiting Nelson to deliver the annual Hochstetter Lecture and will be giving this supporting talk to the Nelson Discussion Group.This supporting talk will be on WEDNESDAY 12th August to accommodate Dr Upton’s NZ-wide tour schedule.

About our Speaker: 

Dr Phaedra Upton is the Geodynamics Team Leader at GNS Science, where she has worked for the last 11 years. Prior to GNS she did her PhD at the University of Otago then worked at CSIRO Australia, the University of Otago and the University of Maine.  She has widely published on oblique collisional plate boundaries including the Southern Alps.  More recently, tectonic geomorphology has become her main focus.  

As a modeller, Phaedra tries to bring practical and sensible numerical modelling approaches to a wide range of Earth Science topics, from large scale processes in the deep crust through to surface processes of active erosion and sedimentation.  She is adept at using these models in collaboration with geologists from a range of subdisciplines to produce insights into the various processes and time scales involved. 

Previous meeting: 

Dr Aaron Stallard summarized the factors that have governed the evolution of Earth’s atmosphere and climate over geological time. These included Milankovitch cycles, volcanism, the rise of plants and oxygenation of the atmosphere, the roles of oceans and albedo, feedback mechanisms, the greenhouse effect, variations in solar forcing, and human activity. He presented the evidence for anthropogenic climate change and its implications for ecosystems, human society, and life on Earth and led a vigorous and very interesting discussion on these topics with a full house of AusIMM members and guests. 

Forthcoming Meeting 

Friday 11th September: Prof Rick Sibson will speak on “Evolution of the Fault-Valve model for Fault-Hosted Mineralisation.”

Time: 5.00pm for 5.30pm.

Venue: TBA

John Dow          (021) 406 234 

James Macdonald     (021) 0245 1166 

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