Principal scientist

Nick Mortimer

NS Nick Mortimer FIN

BSc (Hons), Geology, Imperial College; PhD, Geology, Stanford University

Nick Mortimer has dedicated his life to science. He is a prolific and inspiring geologist who has helped change the way we think about Aotearoa New Zealand’s geology and tectonics.

He is perhaps best known for his leading role in GNS Science's Te Riu-a-Maui / Zealandia – Earth’s eighth continent work. He applies the broad spectrum of petrology, geochemistry, geochronology, and structural geology to explore, discover and understand the present-day makeup and past tectonic development of this now-submerged continent.

Based in the Dunedin Research Centre, Nick has worked all over the world, including the U.S., Canada, Australia, Antarctica, and in the SW Pacific region.

His extensive contribution to the science system includes a six-year tenure as Senior Editor of the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics; he is a former Curator of GNS Science’s National Petrology Rock Collection and Petlab database and he is a past-President of the Geoscience Society of New Zealand.

Nick is renowned and respected for his enormous contribution to the earth science community. His contribution has also earned him a Science New Zealand Lifetime Achievement Award, and he was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2017.

Mortimer Nick 1899

Nick Mortimer Geologist

I am interested in all aspects of the regional geology and tectonics of New Zealand, Zealandia and the SW Pacific Ocean. My main research tools are petrology, mineralogy, geochemistry, geochronology, structural geology and GIS. I have contributed to several advances in New Zealand’s regional geology, including Otago Schist architecture, the Median Batholith, subdivision of greywacke terrane basement, long baseline evolution of volcanic arcs north of New Zealand, a holistic high-level stratigraphy of New Zealand rocks, and exploration and promotion of Earth’s eighth continent, Zealandia. I have a broad working knowledge of Zealandia’s igneous, metamorphic, sedimentary and tectonic makeup, and its 500 million year geological history. Consultancy work and outreach are an important part of my professional life at GNS Science.

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