Royal Society of New Zealand, Canterbury Branch
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RSNZ Canterbury Branch

Managed by our council since 1862 promoting science and technology in Canterbury.

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Upcoming Events

Chemicals in the environment

Sally Gaw, University of Canterbury

14 Sept

Lecture Theatre TBC, University of Canterbury

Hochstetter Lecture, Geological Society
The forensics of volcanic catastrophe - how to study large explosive eruptions

Prof. Colin Wilson,Victoria University

Tuesday 20 Sept 6.30pm

Lecture Theatre C3 TBC, University of Canterbury

Erupting volcanoes are one of the great natural sights on the planet. There are, however, volcanoes on Earth which produce eruptions of such a size and violence (supereruptions at one extreme) that if you can see the volcano erupting you will die. Apart from being somewhat career-limiting, the chances of making useful observations are almost nil. Thus, what we understand about such eruptions and their parent volcanoes has to be gained from studying the products of past events, in a geological form of forensic science. In this talk, I outline the ways in which insights into large explosive eruptions can be gained from studying rocks in the field, then applying a variety of analytical techniques down to the microscopic scale. The information that is gained provides unprecedented details into eruptive processes, but suggests that we are still a long way from having a clear picture of how big eruptions and their parental volcanoes operate.

Colin is a volcanologist who began his career in physical volcanology, but has since strayed into the black arts of petrology and geochemistry. His research is mostly concerned with studying the products of large-scale explosive silicic volcanism, particularly ignimbrites. Trained at Imperial College in the UK, Colin has a long history of work in New Zealand, and is currently Professor of Volcanology at Victoria University of Wellington. Colin will be touring the country during the year and at University centres the Hochstetter and a Supplementary lecture are given. The itinenary below is being worked on and will be finalised soon.

2015 Hochstetter Lecture: Nick Mortimer, Zealandia: Earth's eighth continent on youtube,


Tentative programme for 2016

No title



14 Sept

Sally Gaw, University of Canterbury

Chemicals in the environment

Tuesday 20 Sept

Prof. Colin Wilson,Victoria University

The forensics of volcanic catastrophe - how to study large explosive eruptions

Hochstetter Lecture, Geological Society

12 Oct

Jennifer Hay


Nov Date TBA

Emma Stewart

The human dimensions of climate change in the Arctic

A map of the university can be found here.

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