Position: PhD Student, Field: Sedimentary Geology, Organisation: University of Waikato.

Adam Vonk is in the final stages of his PhD, studying at the University of Waikato. His area of interest is sedimentary geology. Geologists in this field study how rocks are formed, their origins and where they are found.

Adam’s specific interest is to use the rocks we can see above ground to determine what is under the ground and ocean. His research playground is the Taranaki region where, as well as investigating the different types of rocks in the area, he is working out what is under the ground – using his knowledge to identify potential sites that might contain oil and natural gas.

During his studies, he has made a series of paleogeographical maps that show how the Taranaki region has changed over time. Looking back over time and looking at the oldest rocks can help oil companies decide likely areas to try looking for oil. With the world’s need for oil, discovering new reservoirs for us to use is an important area.

But it’s not all about oil. Another important aspect to his research is studying the rocks to see what they can tell us about sea level and climate change. Rocks show weathering (wearing down by the water and weather), and sedimentary rocks are made gradually over time by new layers being layed down. Adam can read these rocks and tell us things about times past.

This article is based on information current in 2008.

    Published 10 June 2008