Pullar-Vucetich Prize

Callum Rees2020 Pullar-Vucetich Prize winner:

Callum Rees


This year’s winner of the Pullar-Vucetich prize is Callum Rees, and his co-authors Julie and Alan Palmer, for three papers published in the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics in 2019:

Rees, C., Palmer, J., & Palmer, A. (2019). Tephrostratigraphic constraints on sedimentation and tectonism in the Whanganui Basin, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics https://doi.org/10.1080/00288306.2019.1691611 (published online 24 Nov 2019).

Rees, C., Palmer, A., & Palmer, J. (2019). Quaternary sedimentology and tephrostratigraphy of the lower Pohangina Valley, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 62(2), 171-194. https://doi.org/10.1080/00288306.2018.1547321 (published online 25 Nov 2018).

Rees, C., Palmer, J., & Palmer, A. (2019). Whanganui Basin, an archive of prehistoric earthquakes? Waitapu Shell Conglomerate (c. 0.9 Ma), North Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 62(2), 195-216. https://doi.org/10.1080/00288306.2019.1587475 (published online 28 Mar 2019).

This set of papers incorporates new analyses and identifications of Quaternary tephras and volcaniclastic beds in the Whanganui Basin, and their tephrochronological application to sedimentology, tectonism, and paleoseismology.



Past Pullar-Vucetich Prize winners

Year Person From For work on
2018 Magret Damaschke Massey University Tephrostratigraphic research into the eruptive history of Mount Taranaki.
2016 Jenni Hopkins Victoria A new way for identifying cryptotephras in lacustrine sediment cores.
2012 Natalia Pardo Massey Reconstructing the largest explosive eruptions of Mt. Ruapehu.
2010 Michael Turner Macquarie University Oxidation states in titanomagnetites to distinguish the different eruption styles of Mt Taranaki.  
2008 Maria Gehrels Plymouth University Cryptotephras in northern New Zealand.
2006 Brad Pillans ANU Pleistocene silicic tephras of Wanganui Basin
2004 Alan Palmer Massey Onland and offshore tephra studies
2002 Vicki Smith Auckland Okataina Volcanic Centre
2000 Dennis Eden Palmerston North Multi-sourced distal tephras and landscape evolution, eastern North Island
1998 Shane Cronin Massey Tephra identification and Ruapehu and Tongariro ring plains
1996 Susan Donoghue Massey/HKU Tephrostratigraphic work on style of prehistoric eruptions, Mt Ruapehu
1994 Brent Alloway Auckland Tephrostratigraphy and chronology of the Taranaki and Wanganui regions
1992 Phil Shane Victoria Plio-Pleistocene tephrostratigraphic correlations in southern North Island
1988 No award made - -
1986 David Lowe Waikato Quaternary tephrostratigraphy of the Waikato Basin

Alan Pullar and Colin Vucetich

In the 1950s and 1960s Alan Pullar (left) and Colin Vucetich (right) worked for the DSIR Soil Bureau, mapping soils in the North Island.   Alan worked in Gisborne and Whakatāne, and Colin around Rotorua.  They recognised that the soils were formed on volcanic ash layers, which were often visible in road cuttings.

The men started tracing out distinctive ash layers across the region. Work on ash layers (later called tephrostratigraphy) was outside official Soil Bureau policy and was banned. Much of their work was therefore done in weekends and holidays on what they called ‘secret correlation missions’.

Between 1963 and 1975 Colin and Alan published a series of papers on the sequence and characteristics of the main volcanic eruptions in the Taupō and Rotorua region. This work has been the foundation for later volcanological studies as well as the understanding of soil properties.

Initial funds for the Pullar Vucetich Prize were donated by family and colleagues of Alan Pullar and Colin Vucetich.