Thermal rock propertiesHow thermal properties of rocks help us to understand Zealandia
Earth’s crust consists of a wide variety of rock types, which produce and conduct heat at different rates. Knowing how these thermal properties vary across Te Riu-a-Māui/Zealandia helps us understand how temperature increases (with depth) in the crust.
The boundary between two tectonic plates runs through Te Riu-a-Māui/Zealandia, resulting in an abundance of geological resources and geologic hazards threatening populated areas. Despite the importance of thermal properties for understanding geologic resources and hazards, much of what we know is limited in geographic extent or based on international studies. We need a national dataset of crustal rock thermal properties for New Zealand.
Our proof-of-concept study aims to
- identify which rock units are representative of Te Riu-a-Māui/Zealandia’s crust, and to develop a plan for a multi-year research programme of analysing and recording thermal properties of hundreds of representative samples
To achieve this objective, we will
- narrow down which rock units are important and where we can collect new samples by using our national digital geological maps(external link)
Initially, samples will be sourced from those stored in the National Petrology Reference Collection and the thermal properties data will be stored in the associated PETLAB database(external link). We will also analyse a subset of those representative rocks as a proof of concept trial.
Contribution to other reseach
What we find in the pilot and any subsequent studies will also contribute to research on:
- Natural hazards and risks
- Hazards and Risk Management
- National Seismic Hazard Model
- New Zealand Geothermal Futures
- Energy Futures
- Pre-Quaternary Magmatism
Wairakei Rock Physics Laboratory
Samples will be analysed for density, porosity, thermal conductivity, specific heat capacity and thermal diffusivity at our Wairakei Rock Physics Laboratory.
Given the complex inter-linking of Te Riu-a-Māui/Zealandia’s geological processes, we expect this project to contribute to other GNS projects including:
Research project details
Pilot – six months
Global Change through Time Zealandia SSIF