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Volcanologist wins top overseas job - 16/03/1999

New Zealand scientist Bruce Houghton has been appointed to one of the world’s most prestigious positions in volcanology -- professor of volcanology at the University of Hawaii.

The Gordon A Macdonald chair in volcanology at the University of Hawaii was established in 1979 to attract the world’s best volcanologists to teach, do research, and act as the State Volcanologist.

Dr Houghton, a senior volcanologist with the Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS), was appointed after the university conducted a two-year job search. He was selected from a short list of candidates from Europe and the United States. He starts his new job later this year.

Dr Houghton is replacing Professor George Walker, who has retired after holding the position since its inception in 1979. Professor Walker was a James Cook fellow at Auckland University at the time of his appointment. Dr Houghton was a student under Professor Walker at Auckland University.

Dr Houghton trained at Auckland and Otago Universities and completed a post-doctoral fellowship in Germany. As well as working on New Zealand’s volcanoes, he has worked in Alaska, Italy, El Salvador, Greece, and the Canary Islands.

He is a past president of the Geological Society of New Zealand, and deputy secretary-general of the International Association of Volcanology & Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior.

Robin Falconer, Hazards Group Manager at GNS, said the appointment was a chance to build on fast-growing links between GNS and the School of Ocean, Earth Science and Technology at Honolulu.

Dr Falconer said GNS would continue the research Dr Houghton had been doing under a grant from the government-sponsored Marsden Fund, which supports long-term blue skies research.

  • The Macdonald chair in volcanology marks the contribution of legendary volcanologist Gordon Macdonald – a pioneer figure in modern Hawaiian volcanology.

John Callan
Communications Co-ordinator
Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences Limited
Ph: 04-570-1444 (reception), 04-570-4732 (direct)