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About us

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The Otago Earthquake Science Working Group is a collaborative, multidisciplinary group of scientists and practitioners who work in the field of earthquake science in southern New Zealand.


Earthquake scientists are present in the University of Otago’s Departments of Geology, Geography, Mathematics & Statistics, Computer Science, School of Surveying, and Centre for Sustainability. Earthquake scientists are also present at GNS Science and Otago Regional Council, and several freelance researchers live in Dunedin.

The group has been created following the appointment of the inaugural Chair of Earthquake Science at the Department of Geology (Professor Mark Stirling), and subsequent recognition of the critical mass of earthquake science researchers in the region. 


The 2019 Hyde Fault trenching team. Left to right: Ross Nicolls, Erin Todd, Ella van den Berg, Jono Griffin, Mark Stirling.



Goals of the group


• Advance the understanding of earthquake science and associated hazards and risks in southern New Zealand

• Provide a forum for researchers to achieve synergy and collaboration. Our researchers cover expertise in seismology, seismotectonics, earthquake geology, structural geology, earthquake statistics, geodesy, seismic hazard modelling, hazard social science, emergency management, and policy driven hazard analysis

• Exploit funding opportunities for earthquake science research (National Hazard Research Platform, EQC, QuakeCoRE, etc)

• Provide collaborative education opportunities for undergraduate and postgraduate

• Provide earthquake science education and outreach in southern New Zealand



Otago Earthquake Science Group


Core (Department of Geology, University of Otago, Dunedin):

Professor Mark Stirling (Otago Earthquake Science Chair)

• Anna Kowal (PhD student)

• Jonathan Griffin (PhD student)

• Ella van den Berg (MSc student)

• Ross Nicolls (MSc student)



• Erin Todd (previously Department of Geology, University of Otago)

• Associate Professor Andrew Gorman (Department of Geology, University of Otago)

Dr Paul Denys (School of Surveying, University of Otago)

Dr Chris Pearson (School of Surveying, University of Otago)

Dr Ting Wang (Department of Mathematics & Statistics, University of Otago)

David Barrell (GNS Science, Dunedin)