Why I do this

I have been having fun with geology since 1969 – the year I learned there was such a thing.  I was beginning my BSc at Auckland University, New Zealand majoring in chemistry and in the first term (now called semester) I needed an additional paper.  A friend suggested I might find geology interesting; you know rocks, fossils and the like.  I’ve never looked back.  My career has spanned research, teaching and consulting.  It has always been fun (albeit hard work).  I’ve worked in places that were in my dreams, and met thousands of people along the way.

Post categories; A quick link to A compendium of Posts

The Really Ancient Earth; mostly Precambrian (4600 million to 460 million years ago), origin of atmosphere, life and so on

time line

How Geologists Interpret Ancient Environments

North of Waihi

Climate change – a Geological perspective; mostly about the science, trying to avoid emotive rhetoric

Emma Fiord

Groundwater – Hydrogeology A series on water, aquifers, contaminants, strategic value


Science in Context; social contexts, art, commentary

timeline people

Kid’s Stuff;  Things for kids to do, experiments and so on

sciencey things 2

Class 5; Geology for Kayakers; Fo all those whitewater kayakers who might want to check out the rocks as they boof the waterfalls

sam on huka

Digressions: Geology – science related odds and ends


I hope to share some of this enthusiasm with the posts on this website .  Creating the posts is a lot of fun.  Most of them are intended as school teaching resources and for non-professionals wanting a bit of background on various geological topics.  Most will be based on my own experience in Earth Sciences that, over the last 40 odd years has focused on sedimentary rocks; how they formed, what they represent as a record of ancient environments through deep time,  and how they can be viewed as part of an evolving physical world and the evolving human understanding or appreciation of that world. Sediment and sedimentary rocks are forming today; we can observe how and where they form and apply this knowledge to infer how rocks as old as 3.4 billion years formed.

SedimentarAxel Heiberg fieldworky rocks are also host to resources, some of which we should probably be weaning ourselves from (coal, oil and gas, minerals) and others that we need to use sustainably (groundwater, geothermal energy).  The earth sciences in general and sedimentology in particular are important contributors in our search for sustainable development.

The study of sedimentary rocks, or sedimentology is a branch of Earth Sciences, that in turn is an important component of the whole scientific edifice.   No part of science is conducted in a vacuum, divorced from society; what scientist do, how they do it and what they discover impacts us all in one way or another.  Some of my posts may dwell on these social contexts as well.

bulbous stromatolitesEach post will be part of a theme (such as the Really Ancient Earth);  the themes will change from time to time.  In the interest of always wanting to improve the website, I’d appreciate feedback, comment or critique on any of the posts.


Class 5; Geology for Kayakers


In April 2016 I decided to add another layer to the geology posts – this one targeting those fiends of whitewater; kayakers and rafters.   I’m teaming up with Sam Ricketts (Sea to Sky Whitewater); he’s the one doing the  waterfalls, not me.  The general idea is to provide some geological background to these rivers.  New Zealand has plenty of great rivers with which to start this project.  Sam will provide most of the images; there are also many well-crafted videos on his website.  He has kayaked in New Zealand, Canada, USA, Chile, Columbia, Argentina, Indonesia, and Laos.