Monthly archives of “September 2014

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The Kai Point Coal Mine – Late Cretaceous vegetation treasure-trove

The lowlands south of Dunedin (New Zealand), used to be almost impassable wetlands. The local Maoris were incredulous when the first Western explorers of the mid 19th century insisted on making their way tediously directly through it. There were other routes south. The wetlands were… Read more

Fossil Eucalyptus leaf from New Zealand Miocene
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Eucalyptus fossils in New Zealand – the thin end of the wedge

Eucalyptus (aka ‘gum-tree’) is the quintessential Australian tree. There are about 700 species of them today (depending on who you ask), all of them restricted to Australia, except for a couple that are in New Guinea. They range from cold mountains in Tasmania and Victoria, to… Read more

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Four Degrees of Climate Change in New Zealand – should we care?

New Zealand might be a relatively lucky position as regards global warming. We mostly have a moderate, ‘maritime’ climate. Not too hot, too dry, and except for the dirty dribbles of ice we make so much of, no ice-sheets to melt. We’re not like Australia, where… Read more

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Beetroot with your Peanut Butter and Marmite? The basic geological structure of New Zealand

New Zealand must be one of the best places on the planet for geology. We are famous among tourists for having so much variety of landscape in such a small area – you don’t have to drive far to see something totally different. This goes… Read more

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A Glimpse in to the Rise of the Mongolian Gobi Altai

The Gobi is the great desert that extends along southern Mongolia and northern China. Its northern extent is marked by a series of mountain ranges called the Gobi Altai (Altai means ‘golden’). The mountains appear desert-like, with usually nothing higher than small shrubs growing on them,… Read more

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Mixed-up with Mongolian Migmatite

When I was a novice geology student, the world appeared kind of simple. Faced with a rock, I could ask myself the most fundamental question – is this rock sedimentary, metamorphic or igneous? And there was some sort of expectation that the question could be answered… Read more