3/9/14

Wellington is a beautiful setting on a harbor set up against green hills, a compact, walkable downtown, and many spread-out suburbs. I gave two talks here to local geoscientists, including one in the largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere, a lovely structure with native wood interiors, and the other in a film studio turned GNS (Geological & Nuclear Science) center, where work on the Lord of the Rings movies was done. The talk was in a large theater used for movie viewing.

The largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere (a government building) designed to look like stone.

The largest wooden building in the Southern Hemisphere (a government building) designed to look like stone.

Cliff Atkins, of the University of Victoria, Wellington, put together a lovely field trip to the Wairarapa region, an up and coming wine producer, with interesting geology to boot.

Cliff Atkins pointing out features in the Wairarapa Valley.

Cliff Atkins pointing out features in the Wairarapa Valley.

The south Wairarapa Valley is the site of a Pliocene-Pleistocene, narrow paleoseaway that existed in a forearc basin (1-3Ma).  We also viewed Pliocene marine mudstones uncomformably overlain by Quaternary deposits.

The unconformity of Pliocene marine mudstones overlain by Quaternary gravels.

The unconformity of Pliocene marine mudstones overlain by Quaternary gravels.

A view of “Kupe Sail” from Cape Palliser.  It is made of tilted Miocene Mangatoetoe sedimentary rocks overlying  Mesozoic basement rocks.

A view of “Kupe’s Sail” from Cape Palliser. It is made of tilted Miocene Mangatoetoe sedimentary rocks overlying Mesozoic basement rocks.

The coast has uplifted marine terraces overlain by fluvial deposits. Other stops included Mesozoic basement greywackes and pillow basalts.

Margie