Principal scientist

Phaedra Upton:Land and Marine Geosciences

Phaedra specialises in Tectonic Geomorphology and Geodynamic modelling and is passionate about using her knowledge and skills to mentor early and mid-career researchers.

Phaedra is a geodynamic modeller who has over 25 years of experience researching a wide range of problems in tectonics. Phaedra brings practical and sensible numerical modelling approaches to a wide range of Earth Science topics, from large scale processes in the deep crust through to surface processes of active erosion and sedimentation. She is adept at using these models in collaboration with geologists from a range of subdisciplines to produce insights into a large variety of processes including faulting, fluid flow, heat transfer, drainage evolution, placer gold deposition and the relationship between tectonics and genetics.

She has worked extensively in New Zealand’s Southern Alps and Marlborough Fault System, and in a number of overseas mountain belts including in Taiwan, the Himalayas, Alaska, Norway and the Appalachians. By combining an understanding of tectonics, the role of topography and the stress state, Phaedra has played a key role in providing theoretical background for understanding the dynamics of the Alpine Fault and the Southern Alps. She was instrumental in developing and running models during scientific drilling on the Alpine Fault.

Phaedra practises authentic and collaborative leadership. She promotes diversity of thought and inclusivity as vital to achieving our scientific goals. She particularly enjoys mentoring early and mid-career scientists and celebrating their successes.

Phaedra guest edited a special issue of NZJGG “Tercentenary of the 1717 great Alpine Fault earthquake: advances in science and understanding hazards”. Phaedra was the 2020 New Zealand Geosciences Hochstetter Lecturer.

Phaedra Upton Land and Marine Geoscience Theme Leader

Phaedra is a geodynamic modeller who researches a wide range of problems in tectonics. She is adept at using numerical models in collaboration with geologists from a range of subdisciplines to produce insights into a large variety of processes including faulting, fluid flow, heat transfer, drainage evolution, placer gold deposition and the relationship between tectonics and genetics. As a Theme Leader at GNS Science, she practises authentic and collaborative leadership. She promotes diversity of thought and inclusivity as vital to achieving our scientific goals. Phaedra was the 2020 New Zealand Geosciences Hochstetter Lecturer.

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