New Zealand Geophysics Prize

2019 New Zealand Geophysics Prize winner:
Emily Warren-Smith


The publication in ‘Nature Geoscience’ is the culmination of dedicated, detailed study of earthquake focal mechanisms and subsequent stress calculations.  It draws, in particular, on Emily’s experience making detailed seismological observations in other tectonic regions of New Zealand. 

Such work required careful analysis to reduce uncertainty and reliably discern subtle signals in the complex data.  The signals that Emily and her co-authors document have emerged from the data following diligent work, by Emily in particular, relocating and analysing earthquakes using world-class data from on-land and ocean-bottom seismographs. 

The insightful and creative interpretations drawn from this unique dataset have far-reaching implications for the role of fluid and stress cycling in slow-slip events, and raise the tantalising possibility of observing premonitory changes before large earthquakes.


Past New Zealand Geophysics Prize winners

Year For publication(s) by the following on
2018 Ian Hamling et al. "Complex multifault rupture during the 2016 Mw 7.8 Kaikōura earthquake, New Zealand." Science 356(6334).
2017 Grant O'Brien et al. "Spatially and temporally systematic hydrologic changes within large geoengineered landslides, Cromwell Gorge, New Zealand, induced by multiple regional earthquakes." (2016) Journal of Geophysical Research Solid Earth, 121, 8750-8773.
2016 Laura Wallace et al."Slow slip near the trench at the Hikurangi subduction zone, New Zealand." (2016) Science v. 352, p. 701-704.
2015 Tim Stern et al. "A seismic reflection image for the base of a tectonic plate". (2015) Nature v. 518, p. 85-88, doi10.1038/Nature14146
2014 Martin Reyners et al. 2014, "Prolonged Canterbury earthquake sequence linked to widespread weakening of strong crust" Nature Geoscience 7, 34-37.
2013 Stuart Henry et al. "SAHKE geophysical transect reveals crustal and subduction zone structure at the southern Hikurangi margin, New Zealand". Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems. 14(7), 2063-2083.
2012 Simon Cox et al. "Hydrological effects of the Mw 7.1 Darfield (Canterbury) earthquake, 4 September 2010, New Zealand". New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics 55, Issue 3, 231-247. Special Issue: The 2010-2011 Canterbury earthquake sequence.
2011 Bryan Davy et al.  "Gas escape features off New Zealand: evidence of massive release of methane from hydrates". Geophysical Research Letters 37, L21309, 5 PP. 2010.
2010 John Beavan et al. "Near-simultaneous great earthquakes at Tongan megathrust and outer rise in September 2009" Nature August 2010.
2009 Philip E. Wannamaker, T. Grant Caldwell, George R. Jiracek, Virginie Maris, Graham J. Hill, Yasuo Ogawa, Hugh M. Bibby, Stewart L. Bennie & Wiebke Heise. Fluid and deformation regime of an advancing subduction system at Marlborough, New Zealand. Nature 460, 733-736, doi:10.1038/nature08204.
2008 Martin Reyners, Donna Eberhart-Phillips and Graham Stuart.The role of fluids in lower-crustal earthquakes near continental rifts. Nature: 446, 1075-1078.
2007 Hugh Bibby, Grant Caldwell and Colin Brown. Determinable and non-determinable parameters of galvanic distortion in magnetotellurics. Geophysical Journal International, 163(3): 915-930.
2006 Townend J., M. D. Zoback , Stress, strain, and mountain building in central Japan. J. Geophys. Res., 111, B03411, doi:10.1029/2005JB003759.
2005 Wallace L. M., J. Beavan, R. McCaffrey, D. Darby. Subduction zone coupling and tectonic block rotations in the North Island, New Zealand, J. Geophys. Res., 109, B12406, doi:10.1029/2004JB003241. 2004
2004 Timothy A. Little, Martha K. Savage, Basil Tikoff. Relationship between crustal finite strain and seismic anisotropy in the mantle, Pacific-Australia plate boundary zone, South Island, New Zealand, Geophysical Journal International 151 (1), 106-116. doi:10.1046/j.1365-246X.2002.01730.x. 2002
2003 No award made
2002 Stern, T., Molnar, P., Okaya, D., Eberhart-Phillips, D. Teleseismic P wave delays and modes of shortening the mantle lithosphere beneath South Island, New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research. Solid earth, 105(B9): 21, 615-21, 631. 2000
2001 Beavan J. and Haines A.J. Contemporary horizontal velocity and strain rate fields of the Pacific-Australian plate boundary zone through New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research 106: 817-834, 2001.
2000 T.H. Webb and H.J. Anderson. Focal mechanisms of large earthquakes in the North Island of New Zealand: slip partitioning at an oblique active margin, Geophysical Journal International 134:40-86, 1998
1999 G. Caldwell and H.M. Bibby. The instantaneous apparent resistivity tensor: a visualisation scheme for LOTEM electric field measurements. Geophysical Journal International Vol 135: 817-834, 1998.
1998 M. Reyners,R. Robinson,P. McGinty. Plate coupling in the northern South Island and southernmost North Island, as illuminated by earthquake focal mechanisms. Journal of Geophysical Research Vol 102: 15,197 - 15,210, 1997.
1997 F. J. Davey, S. A. Henrys and E. Lodolo. Asymmetric rifting in a continental back-arc basin environment, North Island, New Zealand. Journal of Volcanology and Geothermal Research 68: 209-238, 1995.
1996 J. H. Ansell and S. C. Bannister. Shallow morphology of the subducted Pacific plate along the Hikurangi margin, New Zealand. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 93: 3-10, 1996.
1995 A. W. Hurst and S. Sherburn. Volcanic tremor at Ruapehu: characteristics and implications for the resonant source. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics 36: 475-485, 1993.
1994 C. J. Marks and C. D. Rodgers. A retrieval method for atmospheric composition from limb emission measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research 98(D8): 14,939-14,953, 1993.
1993 D. J. Woodward. Inversion of aeromagnetic data using digital terrain models. Geophysics 58(5): 645-652, 1993.
1992 K. R. Gledhill. Evidence for shallow and pervasive seismic anisotropy in the Wellington region, New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research 96(B13): 21,503-21,516, 1991.
1991 R. L. Dowden and C. D. D. Adams. (i) Adams & Dowden, VLF group delay of lightning-induced electron precipitation echoes from measurements of phase and amplitude perturbations at two frequencies. Journal of Geophysical Research 95(A3): 2457-2462, 1990.
(ii) Dowden & Adams, Location of lightning-induced electron precipitation from measurement of VLF phase and amplitude perturbations on spaced antennas and on two frequencies.
Journal of Geophysical Research 95(A4): 4135-4145, 1990.
1990 T. A. Stern and U. Ten Brink. Flexural uplift of the Transantarctic Mountains. Journal of Geophysical Research 94(B8): 10,315-10,330, 1989.
1989 M. Uddstrom. Retrieval of atmospheric profiles from satellite radiance data by typical shape function maximum a posteriori simultaneous retrieval estimators. Journal of Applied Meteorology 27: 515-549, 1988.
1988 P. O. Koons. Some thermal and mechanical consequences of rapid uplift: an example from the Southern Alps, New Zealand. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 86: 307-319, 1987.
1987 N. D. Gordon. The Southern Oscillation in New Zealand weather. Monthly Weather Review 114(2): 371-387, 1986.
1986 A. C. Kibblewhite and K. C. Ewans. Wave-wave interactions, microseisms and infrasonic noise in the ocean. Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 78(3): 981-994, 1985.
1985 A. J. Haines. A phase-front method:
Papers in Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society,
(I) Narrow-frequency-band SH waves, G.J.R.A.S. 72: 783-808, 1983,
(II) Broad-frequency-band SH waves G.J.R.A.S. 77: 43-64, 1984,
(III) Acoustic waves, P- and S- waves G.J.R.A.S. 77: 65-103, 1984.
1984 W. Allan. Quarter-wave ULF pulsations. Planetary and Space Science 31: 323-330, 1983.
1983 W. I. Reilly. Three-dimensional adjustment of geodetic networks using gravity field data.
"Proc. Int. symp. on geodetic networks and computations, Munich 1981. Vol VII, Combination of horizontal, vertical and gravity networks." Deutsche Geodaetische Kommission B: 258/VII: 142-156, 1982.
1982 R. McKibbin and M. J. O'Sullivan. Heat transfer in a layered porous medium heated from below.
Journal of Fluid Mechanics 111: 141-173, 1981.
1981 G. A. Eiby. Earthquakes. Heinemann, Auckland, 209 pp., 1980.
1980 R. Robinson. Variation of energy release, rate of occurrence and b-value of earthquakes in the main seismic region, New Zealand. Physics of the Earth and Planetary Interiors 18: 209-220, 1979.
1979 R. I. Walcott. Geodetic strains and large earthquakes in the Axial Tectonic Belt of North Island, New Zealand. Journal of Geophysical Research 83: 4419-4429, 1978.
1978 H. M. Bibby. Crustal strain across the Marlborough faults, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics 19: 407-425, 1976.
1977 J. E. Titheridge. (1) Ion transition heights from topside electron density profiles. Planetary & Space Science 24: 229-245, 1976. (2) Plasma temperatures from the Alouette 1 electron density profiles. Planetary & Space Science 24: 247-259, 1976.
1976 J. F. Harper. On the driving forces of Plate Tectonics. Geophysical Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society 40: 465-474, 1975.
1975 S. J. Gibowicz. Stress drops and aftershocks. Bulletin of the Seismological Society of America 63: 1433-1446, 1973.
1974 D. A. Christoffel and R. H. K. Falconer. Changes in the direction of sea floor spreading in the South-west Pacific. Magnetic measurements in the Macquarie Ridge region. In Fraser R., International symposium on the oceanography of the South Pacific: Wellington 1972. 524 pp., 233-240, 1973.
1973 M. J. Randall. Multipolar analysis of the mechanisms of deep-focus earthquakes.
In Methods of Computational Physics 12: 267-298, Academic Press, New York, 1972.
1972 G. A. M. King. Spread-F on ionograms. Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics 32: 209-221, 1970.
1971 T. Hatherton. Upper mantle inhomogeneity beneath New Zealand: surface manifestations.
Journal of Geophysical Research 75(2): 269-284, 1970.
1970 R. S. Unwin and F.B. Knox. The morphology of the v.h.f. radio aurora at sunspot maximum - IV.
Journal of Atmospheric and Terrestrial Physics 30: 25-46, 1968.
1969 G. F. Risk and M. P. Hochstein. Subsurface measurements on the McMurdo Ice Shelf, Antarctica.
New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics 10: 484-497, 1967.
1968 J. W. Elder. Heat and mass flow in the earth: hydrothermal systems. N.Z. D.S.I R. Bulletin 169: 115 pp2., 1966.

The New Zealand Geophysics Prize

The New Zealand Geophysics Prize is the Society’s top geophysical award, and was set up by the New Zealand Geophysical Society.  It is bestowed upon the author or authors of the most meritorious eligible publication in the field of geophysics.

The publication shall describe research in the field of geophysics that has been either carried out in New Zealand, or carried out principally by a New Zealander, temporarily overseas, or pertains to the New Zealand region, published in the current or previous two calendar years.