Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Group Stop Blog Entry- Royce Jones

Royce Jones
Hot Water Beach
I knew when i woke up that morning today was going to be a interesting
and fun day. We had plans of going to Hot Water Beach and Cathedral Cove.
Since i had done a blog assignment in November for Cathedral Cove i knew the
area some what and was excited. After hearing about Hot Water Beach i was
even more excited to see what it was all about. I admit i did not realize it was
so much of a tourist attraction but i started to realize when we got there i was
not one of them. I felt more like an academic, not just coming to learn the ways
in which the tourist were able to enjoy the natural processes giving them man
made hot tubs. I also imagined building a 4 or 5 foot deep hot tub filled with
bubbling water and seats i could build. Just my fickle imagination. It was still
fun trying to build a suitable hole where you could find a nice warm patch of
water underneath the sand. It was a great start to an adventure filled day.
The things we were learning that day we very incredible. Understanding the
geological processes that we could physically see going on and those that had
gone on 7 million years ago. The geothermal activity could be seen, well more
felt as it happened right there at that time. Deep under earth geothermal cracks
and vents were emitting extreme amounts of heat that filtered up through to
the surface, in some place it was incredibly hot even inches below the sand.
This heated the water, and when appropriately mixed with the cold ocean water
you had a nice relaxing hot tub, if built properly and strong enough.
We got to see ignumbrite rock which is a combination of volcanic ash and
pummus, that was created nearly 7 to 8 million years ago. Also we learned to
identify the pummus which was compared to small raisins in rice pudding which
was the matrix of ash. Also that phenocryst's are slow forming crystal pummus
chunks and tuffs are considered all ash by its self. Including these geological
properties we also saw some biological organisms including, Larus gulls, the
ever popular in New Zealand Pipi shell; Plebidonax deltoides species. Also the
common tua tua species Paphies subtriangulata, beach hooper or sand flea, and
amphipods and limpets that could not be identified. Some other biology we
saw were sea weed and Pahotakowa tree growing on the ignumbrite.

Group Stop Blog Entry- Katherine Fochesto

Katherine Fochesto
Cathedral Cove

Cathedral Cove was on of my favorite places that our group has visited
during our time in New Zealand. Cathedral Cove is located on the Pacific Ocean
in a marine reserve that is 9 square kilometers. I really enjoyed Cathedral Cove
because there was a hike on the way down to the beach that took 45 minutes.
The trail we hiked winded down a cliff through a forest with amazing views of
the ocean and the beach below. The walk down to the beach built up our
anticipation to see the shore and the beautiful clear blue water.
Once down at the beach, I was amazed at the rock formations around the
beach. The rocks, called tuff, were made up of ash. The sediment was fine,
white-gray in color and was made up mostly of fragments of tuff rock. The first
thing I noticed was the most obvious, the arch in the rock, on the right side.
The effects of weathering from waves hitting the tuff rock left an arch through
what was once a headland of the beach. When I walked through the arch to the
adjacent beach, I noticed a stack, which is called Tower Rock. It is now a
freestanding rock that broke away from the cliff next to it. At one time, it was
an arch like the one we walked through. Over time, the waves continue to
weather arches and they become stacks like Tower Rock.

Arches and stacks begin as caves, which were also at Cathedral Cove. A
bunch of us swam into two of the caves and it was amazing. Inside each cave
there is a little beach where we swam up and stood on the sand looking out at
the water. Waves begin to weather the rock around them into caves making
them larger and larger until they break through to the other side forming an
arch, and eventually a stack. It was so interesting to see a geological process in
three different stages in one beach. We got to visualize the effects of waves,
weather and long periods of time in one afternoon. There was also a rock
offshore in the middle of the water, which we were able to jump off. That was
really cool also because we were able to stand on the rock facing the beach and
see the whole beach from a different vantage point. Jumping off was very fun
also and I spent a lot of time climbing up to jump the 10-15 feet into the (very
cold) water. The tuff rock surrounding the beach also had what is called honeycomb
weathering. Honeycomb weathering got its name from the indentations it
creates on the rocks, a pattern that resembles a honeycomb. Grains of sand
being moved around on the rocks by wind and swirling around to create little
circular indents cause honeycomb weather. This was really interesting to see
because we were witnessing two different types of weathering: water and wind.
We saw the different formations and patterns the different kinds of weathering
left on the rocks.

While on the beach and climbing the rocks, we noticed a large amount of
limpets and barnacles. The barnacles were attached to rocks both in the water
and on the shore that were not yet covered with the incoming tide. There were
also cockle shells, black nerites, snails, seaweeds, stingrays, sea urchins and
macro algae. The high diversity of the marine life in this area explains why New
Zealand has made it a marine reserve. This was the first marine reserve we
visited so I found it really interesting to learn what that meant. A marine reserve
is a protected beach and coastal area. Visitors to the beach are not allowed to
take anything from the beach, living or nonliving, not even sand or shells.
Visitors are encouraged to "take only pictures and leave only footprints." Marine
reserves are enacted to preserve coastal areas and marine life in their natural
state and prevent disruption or destruction by human activity. Therefore, we
were able to swim and climb the rocks and enjoy our time at the beach but we
were not able to take any specimens with us as we left in order to respect the
environment at Cathedral Cove.
Overall, Cathedral Cove was a great place to spend the day. It was not only
beautiful to look at, but there were many biological and geological aspects to be
studied there. It was fascinating to see how waves cut away and shape the land,
changing its appearance over time. It was also interesting to see all the flora
and fauna in its natural, preserved state. Traveling down the cliff and walking
onto the beach was like entering a serene and protected area with amazing
things to discover and learn about.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Group Stop Blog Entry- Brianna Lyons

Brianna Lyons

Our trip around the Bay of Islands to see the Hole in the Rock was a highly enjoyable introduction to what our later travels around New Zealand would be like. The day was packed with beautiful weather, gorgeous scenery, and geologic processes that I've previously only read about in textbooks. Near the Hole in the Rock were were able to see the sea cave, sea arch, sea stack progression that we would later get a closer look at during our visit to Cathedral Cove. It was also interesting to see the result of rising sea level on the landscape, as the islands are hills that have been drowned in the last few thousand years. The trip provided a light history of some of the islands, as our boat guide told us stories of Cook's travels in the Bay of Islands and later Maori/Pakeha interactions in the area. I feel that the story of the "massacre" on one of the islands by a young Maori, and the Maori reactions to his subsequent arrest and trial by the British, helped to reinforce my awareness of underlying tensions that have existed between Maori and Pakeha since first contact.

The day trip offered a further glimpse into our future travels when we were unexpectedly left on one of the islands for about an hour. It was a gentle initiation into the fact that not everything will go as planned, and that this does not mean bad things will happen, but instead unanticipated opportunities to learn and explore may present themselves. It is definitely enjoyable to think back and realize that on the beach where we had impromptu lectures that day, there were a lot of shells and critters that I didn't know at the time but I could definitely identify now, such as the ever-present pipi.

Group Stop Blog Entry- Brittany Schieler

Brittany Schieler

We have been to so many beautiful places and seen so many amazing things on our trip that picking just one to write about was the hardest part of this blog assignment. One of my favorite group stops in terms of geology and biology thus far, though, has definitely been Cathedral Cove in the Coromandel. While we were there for only a very short time, the amount of biological and geological features available at such a small pocket beach was incredible, making Cathedral Cove one of my most memorable encounters.

Just getting there was hike… literally. It was about a 45 minute walk down a cliff over rough, and sometimes steep, terrain to get to the beach. It was a tough walk, but the scenery was spectacular! One minute you are walking through a dense, forest area with large ferns reminiscent of the Jurassic Park jungles and the next you find yourself on grass fields with a great view of the Pacific Ocean. On the way, we saw many bird species, such as Quail, and many different plants. Finally walking down the last bit of stairs and onto a beautiful, sandy paradise was breathtaking.

Though Cathedral Cove is a popular tourist attraction, we were fortunate enough to be given instruction on the biological and geological features of the area that usually go unnoticed by the typical tourist or beachgoer. For example, the small beach includes examples of all three stages in the geological evolution of sea stacks. There were many sea cave (the first stage in forming a sea stack) and a huge sea arch that you can walk through. Once you are through the arch, you can see a large sea stack just off the beach. Also, there was clear evidence on these geological structures of erosion processes, such as honeycomb weathering patterns. All of this helped show how geological features are not permanent and are governed by dynamic processes and constantly changing.

In addition to geology, Cathedral Cove had some interesting biology. The cove is the first marine reserve to be established on the Coromandel peninsula. In addition to the array of mollusc sea shells that can be found on the beach (the sand is also made of many shell fragments), many organisms dwell in the cove's subtidal zone. I was fortunate to have brought my snorkel equipment and dove right in to explore. Among the vast amounts of submerged macroalgae were large schools of fish. It was a great experience to swim among them.

The wealth of geology and biology at Cathedral Cove marine reserve made this stop a great opportunity to learn and to explore. In addition to this hands-on learning, I did a little self-exploration that afternoon. There was a large rock in the water that many swimmers were jumping off of. Scared at first, I finally convinced myself to climb the giant rock and jump. It may seem quite trivial, but this experience helped me to take risks and leave my comfort zone throughout the rest of my time in New Zealand, for which I am very grateful.

Group Stop Blog Entry- Christina Liaskos

Christina Liaskos

It was a lot harder than I expected to pick a favorite location out of the ones
we've visited thus far; practically every day of this trip has been absolutely
amazing. Cathedral Cove, however, was definitely up there on my top places. It's
beauty was breathtaking. The water was calm and clear and the beach felt like it
was sheltered from the world.

As far as the geology aspect, Cathedral Cove reached beyond my expectations.
To see before my eyes the evolution of a sea stack, to be able to witness it in its
three main stages, simultaneously, was something I never thought I'd see
outside of a textbook. I also enjoyed going inside the sea cave, exploring the
rocky intertidal and checking out the wave-cut notches and honeycomb

Cathedral Cove was awesome in that it provided not only a beautiful landscape,
but a geological education as well.

Group Stop Blog Entry- Samantha Eulo

Samantha Eulo

I chose Cathedral Cove to write about because I thought the beach was amazing in it's entirety, from the hike down, to jumping off the rock in the ocean, I found Cathedral Cove to be astounding. The best part was exploring the sea caves and actually swimming into them and hanging out inside. To see coastal processes that I've learned about in class, such as honey comb weathering, in person was really interesting. The whole adventurous feel of Cathedral Cove hooked me right from the beginning. In my surficial processes class we learned about wave cut notches and to see one in person was really helpful in visualizing what they really are and how they form.

Wave Cut Notch:

The geology at Cathedral Cove was so prominent. Honey-comb weathering created sea stacks, sea caves and sea arches. It was amazing to see all three in one beautiful place because all these processes take hundreds of years to form a feature.

Sea Arch:

Sea Stack:

The biology at Cathedral Cove was also amazing. The hike down was filled with many types of trees and plants. My favorite was the fern. To see first hand how it uncurls was awesome because a lot of the Maori carvings I saw included the growing fern. Seeing the fern made me understand the Maori's value for the fern and what it means for new life.

Overall, I found Cathedral Cove to be the most amazing place we've visited. It was jam packed with geology, biology, culture and adventure and I soaked up every second of it. When I come back to New Zealand I am most definitely going to visit Cathedral Cove and I feel so lucky to have shared that experience with everyone on the trip.

Group Stop Blog Entry- Katy Ames

On our first day in New Zealand, we took a ferry to Rangitoto. Rangitoto is a shield volcano that is was formed about 700 years ago. The name Rangitoto comes from the Maori word for 'bloody sky. It was overcast, but even though the weather was dreary, the volcano still looked very impressive from the ferry.

Once we landed on the island, the whole group squeezed into a tram pulled by a trailer. We got to see several batchs, small holiday homes, on the beaches surrounding the volcano. Most of them were from the 50's, and today no more can be built on the island. They were very small, probably one or two rooms at most, but it is a great location! While we were going up, we passed huge a'a lava fields. It was awesome to see such dramatic evidence of the volcano's activity. After almost falling out of the tram we finally got to the end of the tram ride. Then after climbing a considerable amount of stairs we reached the top. There were also many pohutukawa trees, and flax that only grows in extremely clean air. The top had great views of the crater, which was covered in vegetation, and of the surrounding waters. There was an old survey station was and a World War II observation post at the top. We walked around the crater and then came back down the volcano. After descending we walked around in the a'a lava field which proved treacherous. Then we went to the first beach of the trip. There was a wrack line with some Neptune's necklace. There was also a lava tube that had cooled on the beach. After the beach we went back Rangitoto, it was certainly a great way to beat jet lag!

Group Stop Blog Entry- Kristen Beebe


New Zealand study abroad has been a trip I will cherish for its memories and
experiences the rest of my life. Not only was I able to enjoy the most beautiful
country in the world, but learn about the marine life and geology/biology of the
coasts along with experiencing the culture of the island. One event in particular
that has been most influential to me is the excursion to the Marae.

The trip to the Marae focused a lot on the cultural side of the trip: learning
about the ancient maori and their traditional heritage. Beginning with the use of
a chief to enter the grounds and the singing to prove our entrance as peaceful, I
will never forget the culture of the maori. I enjoyed the way we worked together
in the Marae in preparing and cleaning up meals, learning the haka, and
sleeping in a communal space. Being able to work together in learning this
dance for both males and females opened my eyes to the expressive nature of
the natives and how they have persevered in preserving their culture amidst the
heavy European influence.

As well, I think it was a nice change to sleep with
everyone in the group: it was a bonding experience and a happy peaceful
night's sleep. I learned that the shape of the Marae is not haphazard, with the
carving of the ancestor at the front of the Marae resembling the head of the
ancestor and the single long beam in the center of the structure being the back
with the wood radiating from the center as the ribs. Everything is symbolic in a
Marae, with much respect for those that have passed.

The walk to the church was very enlightening too, as I had not known of the
great Catholic presence and how much the maori respect their missionary so
much as to fight for his relocation from Europe to this chapel in the hills of New
Zealand. I thought it was amazing how the chief/priest allowed us to raise the
casket of this man (it is only raised three times a year for public viewing).
Although there was a little mishap with a cross that was jammed, father
resumed the raising and we were able to view the hand carved casket (father's
brother was responsible for this). I felt honored.

Not only was there a cultural revelation from the Marae stay, but a scholarly
one as well. A few of the maori men took us on a group walk along the cat walk
which passed through a mangrove thicket. The muddy substrata and the
beautiful water channel that meandered its way through the trees made for a
lovely sight. However, upon closer examination small crabs were noticeable
hidings inside burrows in the mud and small snails were seen along the ground.
Baby mangrove shoots were pronounced everywhere and the influence of the
tide was clear with shells (oysters, etc) and other shell debris. Of course, this
muddy terrain was not left untouched, as a mud race ensued with a few of the
group members. All in all, the mangroves were a beautiful natural wonder with
diverse fauna.

The morning we left was just as genuine as the day we entered: breakfast
was homemade and we all worked as a group in cleaning the dishes.
Furthermore, our chief was set to speak again and we sang once more. We
ended with touching noses and saying our goodbyes (Kia ora); I was left with an
enlightened heart.

***In the pictures above, you will find an image of the mangroves, the group
that ran in the mud, an image of the chapel, and an image of the entrance to
the Marae***

Group Stop Blog Entry- Laura Treible

Laura Treible-

One of my most memorable stops so far was the Whale Bay rocky intertidal. I
have never experienced a coastline so unique. To start off, the geology of the
area was very unique. I could see the progression of weathering from the pillow
basalts to the boulders to smaller cobbles up the beach. It is so interesting to
learn about processes in the classroom, and then actually get to see them in the
field. It was fascinating to see how pools were created in the indentations in the
rocks and between them. This created a unique habitat for the animals living

I loved seeing the diversity of animal species at Whale Bay. Previously, we had
only seen shells and some crabs, but the rocky intertidal zone was full of life. I
remember how excited I was to see two starfish in one of the tide pools, and see
living things in shells instead of just the shells washed up on the beach. Stu
even caught one of the crabs so I could look at it up close.

Besides the geology and biology of the area, it was interesting to see how the
people of New Zealand were using this unique coastline. There were tons of
surfers off the shore taking advantage of the large, high energy waves. At first I
was confused as to why there were so many surfers when the waves would be
coming straight in to such large boulders, but I noticed how the waves were
refracting around the larger boulders, which was interesting to see.

Overall, the Whale Bay rocky intertidal was one of my favorite places to go.
Seeing the unique biology, combined with being able to see geological
processes in the field made this a great experience.

Group Stop Blog ENtry- Alison Gutsche

Alison Gutsche

I knew about Raglan Beach before I went on this New Zealand trip. There was a summer when Endless Summer was on TV everyday and I watched as they traveled to the legendary surf beach. Raglan was better than I ever imagined. It was the longest and widest beach I had ever seen along with its fine, black sand; it was something right out of the movies. I felt like I was walking forever as I approached the famous west coast waves of the Tasman Sea. The waves were bigger than what I was used to at Fenwick Island, DE. The waves were getting as big as 2.5m high and only falling to about 1.5m high, which can be considered low for Raglan's usual waves.

It was a perfect beach day, the skies were clear and there was a slight breeze that filled my entire backpack with black sand. It was the darkest sand I had ever seen filled Magnetite, ilmenite, and rutile. The sand was very fine and very well sorted due to the high-energy waves crashing onto the shore, and was rather annoying in the fact that it was very hard to remove from my hands and fingernails. We dug a small trench to studying the storm layering of the beach and noticed the different minerals in the layers. While digging, we found a small isopod and few different shell fragments. There were an assortment of Pipis, wedge shells, mussels, and cockles.
The large waves were mainly spilling with a few plunging due to the fact that it was a high energy, so it was a dissipative beach. The fine sand and wide surf zone also contributed to the dissipative beach characteristics. The steady sets of waves broke perfectly for surfers close to shore and also farther out to sea. I would have enjoyed returning and watching some experienced surfers brave the waves of Raglan, but our visit was short. Hopefully one day I'll be back and be able to spend more time on the legendary beach.

Group Stop Blog Entry- Emily Olson

Emily Olson:

We've seen a lot of beaches on this trip, and all of them are very special in their own way. It's easy to narrow down my two favorites, though, but since I didn't get to go swimming at one of them (an instant deal breaker) the number one spot in my heart goes to Cathedral Cove.

As I was walking the trail to the beach I just kept thinking about how beautiful it was and how much I wanted to stay here. It wasn't breathtaking so much as word-taking; I really can't find any words to describe the place, but I think pictures may be able to do it justice. It's definitely a unique gem both to me and to geology. It ran the whole coastal process/weathering gamut: at the beach there was the namesake, the Cathedral, the huge tunnel in the middle of a cliff. There were also some caves (which we swam into and were really cool because they had mini beaches inside!), and sea stacks offshore. All three stages were in one place; sea cave to hole to sea stack! The rock composing all of these structures was tuff, which is ash that has been compressed into rock – the "raisin pudding" without the raisins. There was also honeycomb weathering inside the Cathedral, which is caused by salt deposits from ocean spray crystallizing on rock and prying apart mineral grains within the rock, which leaves these spots open to weathering. The beach itself was determined to be an intermediate beach. Walking through the Cathedral was very cool, though they had recently had a small collapse and you were restricted to walking through a tiny roped off area. The beach on the other side was beautiful too!

I was also dying to go for a swim there, so I did, for at least an hour! The water was beautiful, though it was 19 degrees C so it was pretty cold when you first got in. But the water was very clear and I snorkeled around for a while near the rocks and sea stacks. I didn't see too much biology, but there was kelp, two grouper-looking fish, maybe a foot or a foot and a half long, and a big school of silver fish around 8 inches long. Somebody had said they saw a stingray, though I didn't witness it. There was a good rock for jumping off of out a way off shore (I did it twice!). The trip was a lot, lot of fun. The worst part of my day was definitely when we had to leave Cathedral Cove. It's just such a beautiful and awe inspiring place that I know I will go back there someday.