Department of Geology, University of Otago, PhD
Physical environment research of Mt Morning, Erebus Province
"The lithosphere and mantle beneath Antarctica are among the least understood regions underlying Earth's surface" (Ritzwoller et al., 2001).
The only real key to understanding the Earth's mantle is the study of xenoliths (foreign bodies) brought up from depth in alkali basalts. They provide information on mantle composition and properties, as well as mantle processes related to plate movements such as continental rift zones. The study of mantle xenoliths has been used to great effect in other regions of the world such as Kakanui, New Zealand; Victoria, Australia; Tanzania, Africa; and Norway; and has been an indispensable tool in modelling evolution and magmatism in the West Antarctic Rift System.