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29.10.23 - SCIENCE HUB

This event is part of the Geopark Festival 2023.


Brought to you by GNS Science, University of Otago Geology Department, the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark, Geoscience Society of New Zealand, the Department of Conservation and more, visit our Science Hub for lots of fun, science-based activities and information

for all ages.


When? Sunday 29 October 2023, 11am- 3pm

Where? Scottish Hall (10 Tyne Street, Ōamaru)

Cost: Free

Contact: Lisa Heinz, 022 581 5657, info@whitestonegeopark.nz



Activities include:

Augmented reality sandbox

Have the chance to explore geoscience by shaping and re-shaping the topography of a landscape. By piling up and digging into the sand, you can create your own landscapes covered in mountains, valleys and plains. Augmented reality layers such as elevation colour markings, topographic lines, and bodies of water are projected onto the sand, and adjust in real time as an interactive sensor detects landforms being shaped. With the wave of a hand, virtual rain, floods, sea level rise and tsunami can be created. The sandbox is designed to teach people about land-water interactions, the effects on waterflow of manmade modifications to land features, and the impacts of sea level rise to our coasts. Suitable for 6+ yrs.

Brought to you by GNS Science



GNS Science's New Zealand Geology Carpet

Come and see GNS Science’s one-of-a-kind New Zealand geological map carpet. Trace the coloured bands of rock formations north and south from the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark across Aotearoa New Zealand. Run your fingers along the Alpine Fault. This unique carpet display is a must for map lovers - you’ll never see anything like it again.

Carpet Chat: On the hour, geologists from GNS Science will tell a few stories about the making of the national geology map carpet. What do the colours mean, who created the map, why it was made? There will be time for questions and comments afterwards. Suitable for all ages.

Brought to you by GNS Science


Monitoring of Geohazards in New Zealand

GNS/Geonets systems provide New Zealanders with high quality open data for research and monitoring of natural hazards (earthquake, landslide, tsunami, and volcano). The National Geohazards Monitoring Centre provides active monitoring of Aotearoa New Zealand’s geological hazards, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. In this activity you will get the opportunity to see a broadband seismometer, which is like a sensitive earthquake "listener." It has a weight attached to a spring and a motion sensor. When the ground shakes due to an earthquake, the weight and spring move, while the sensor records these motions. The seismometer's special design allows it to detect a wide range of shaking frequencies, from slow to fast, like how a microphone can pick up various sounds. Seismometers are also used to monitor New Zealand’s active volcanoes (alongside with other techniques). Volcano seismologists study several types of seismic events to better understand how magma and gases move towards the surface. Scientists use the recorded data to understand the size, location, and nature of earthquakes, helping us prepare for and respond to these natural events. Suitable for 8+ yrs.

Brought to you by GNS Science


Rocks for Tots

Do you know a young rockhound or budding outdoor explorer? Ignite their curiosity at Rocks for Tots, where they can make their own earthquake, explore our submerged continent, and use magnetism to tell rocks from chocolate pebbles. Hands-on activities accessible for 2–6-year-olds – but tons of fun for all ages! Suitable for 2-6+ yrs.

Brought to you by the University of Otago Geology Department


The Aviemore Eucalyptus - Petrified Wood from Lake Aviemore

The Curio Bay Fossil Forest is not the only fossil forest in New Zealand – the Waitaki is home to one too! The Aviemore petrified wood is between 20-5 million years old, and possibly shows that a large forest of Eucalyptus was living on the banks of the Waitaki River during this time. Come touch hand specimens and view the minute details of the wood structure down a microscope! Suitable for all ages.

Brought to you by the University of Otago Geology Department



Dr Rock’s Amazing Rocks

Not all rocks are grey, hard and boring. Come and explore Dr Rock's light, dense, flaky, tough, coloured, glittery, fizzy, magnetic and see-through rocks and learn their uses. And all rocks tell a story: bring your favourite rocks, minerals or fossils from home for Dr Rock to identify and talk about. Suitable for 8+ yrs.

Brought to you by Geoscience Society of New Zealand


Fossils of the Waitaki Whitestone Geopark

Come along to see the fossil bones and shells of ancient marine animals that lived when the Waitaki region was underwater millions of years ago. The interactive display will be hosted by members of the Paleontology group from the University of Otago’s Department of Geology. Learn about the ecosystem of the ancient ocean and how scientists excavate and study fossils today from the Waitaki’s iconic limestone landscape. Visitors are welcomed to bring along fossils they want identified. Suitable for 5+ yrs.

Brought to you by the University of Otago Geology Department


Fossil preparation - the di􀃣fferent way we can expose a fossil's secrets

Once a fossil has been found, it still has a long journey ahead of it before it can be studied further and displayed in a museum. Fossil preparation is the term used when the rock and matrix covering the fossil gets removed so the fossil is visible and strong enough to be handled. Fossil preparation takes a bit of patience, sometimes a huge amount of patience as a large fossil can take thousands of hours to prepare! On display will be a number of fossils prepared in different ways including: - A huge fossil crab that took 200+ hours to prepare - An ~80 million-year-old plesiosaur vertebra that was prepared using a combination of manual techniques and acids - An enormous turtle skull from an unknown species of fossil turtle has been prepared and CT scanned to reveal the inner workings - There will also be some fossil cards that can be played as a game featuring original artwork of New Zealand fossils. Suitable for 4+ yrs.

Brought to you by Mamlambo Fossils


Floor display of the central South Island glacial geomorphology map

The central South Island glacial geomorphology map is a large-scale depiction of landforms, centred on Kā Tiritiri o te Moana / Southern Alps. Extending between the west to east coasts, the map highlights the footprints of ice-age glaciation in the middle part of Te Waipounamu / South Island, and the imprints of glacier recession through to modern times.

Map chat: On the half hour, geologists from GNS Science will explain more about the map and describe what you see. There will be time for questions and comments afterwards. Suitable for all ages.

Brought to you by GNS Science


Volcanoes - ancient eruptions that helped form our landscape

Explode' our volcano model, learn about ancient volcanoes that formed some of the landscapes within our geopark, and create your own 'volcanic' bubble art masterpiece.

Brought to you by Waitaki Whitestone Geopark



Diatoms - from the sea to today

Learn about these beautiful treasures - and why Victorian Ōamaru were so fascinated by them. Colour your own diatom image as part of our community collaborative art piece.

Brought to you by Waitaki Whitestone Geopark


Limestone ecosystems: biodiversity treasures under threat

Limestone ecosystems are home to an incredible diversity of endemic plants, reptiles and invertebrates. Unfortunately, they are also under increasing pressure from a broad range of threats. Join us to learn about your backyard wonders and what we can do to protect them.

Brought to you by Department of Conservation

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