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Quaternary research in New Zealand since 2000: an overview

With the AQUA milestone of 30 years it seems an appropriate time to review the progress and achievements of Quaternary research in New Zealand. This article highlights some of the major achievements since the formal review of New Zealand’s Quaternary record by Newnham et al. (1999). The focus here is on paleoclimate and geochronology and is by no means a comprehensive review. We encourage members to write future articles for Quaternary Australasia (QA) about their exciting projects to keep the wider Australasian community informed. One of the main differences between Australian and New Zealand Quaternary science is the wide use of tephrochronology to correlate and date deposits and events across the landscape, helping to link terrestrial and marine records, especially in the North Island. There have been significant advances using glass-based fission-track dating, corrected for annealing, and the use of the electron microprobe and laser ablation inductively-coupled plasma mass spectrometry for obtaining major- and trace-element analyses, respectively, to chemically fingerprint individual glass shards in tephras to aid their correlation (Shane, 2000; Lowe, 2011). Also the identification and analysis of cryptotephras (concentrations of glass shards not visible as a layer) have greatly expanded the geographic range of many tephras, allowing the application of tephrochronology as a stratigraphic and dating tool across much wider areas than previously possible (Gehrels et al., 2008).
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Bostock, H. C., Lowe, D. J., Newnham, R. M., & Almond, P. C. (2012). Quaternary research in New Zealand since 2000: an overview. Quaternary AUSTRALASIA, 29(2), 30–36.
Australasian Quaternary Association
© 2012 Australasian Quaternary Association. Used with permission.