Antarctica, not all ice

Olivia Truax
17 July 2019

Rocks and sand aren’t the first things that spring to mind when you think about Antarctica, but a scholarship student is using sediment cores to dig deeper into Antarctica’s climate secrets.

Olivia Truax, from the University of Otago, has just been awarded an Antarctica New Zealand Sir Robert Irvine Doctoral Scholarship.

Olivia’s research involves examining a core retrieved from Robertson Bay, near Cape Adare in Antarctica. Over the next few years, she will continue her analysis of the sediment core to pull together a geological record that spans the last six thousand years. Her hope is that this detailed record will help reconstruct past climates.

“The record will give us an insight into how warm waters have interacted with ice in the past. This information could also be used to inform current models,” she says.

Olivia focused on Antarctic geology in 2017 when she began her Masters research at the University of Otago. She is now working with Dr Christina Riesselman.

“I liked that Antarctic research has a direct impact on society and is really multi-disciplinary,” she says.

Antarctica New Zealand’s Chief Scientific Advisor, Dr Fiona Shanhun, says it is fantastic to see young researchers with a passion for understanding past climates.

“Each historical record analysed adds another piece to the puzzle, helping us unlock Antarctica’s secrets. Understanding past climate conditions helps us to better predict how Antarctica might behave in a warming world,” she says.


Photo: Olivia during a field mapping course in Castle Hill Basin, NZ

For more information please contact

Antarctica New Zealand Communications Advisor

Georgia Nelson

021 530 769