Academic Liaison: Euan Smith

Reviewed: 1 December 2010

Purpose of the Statement

The purpose of this statement is to provide a framework to guide the collection development and management activities for Geology. The statement supports the teaching, learning and research activities of Geology in the Faculty of Science.

This statement is developed in accordance with the principles outlined in the Collection Development and Management Policy.

Description of the Academic Subject

The School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences (SGEES) was created in 1997 by the amalgamation of the Departments of Geography and Geology, and the Institute of Geophysics. It offers teaching and research programmes in Geography, Geology and Geophysics and is associated with the Antarctic Research Centre. SGEES staff and students share a wide range of interests in the science of the deep earth, the earth's surface and atmosphere, the environment and people's interaction with it, together with the geography of economic, social and cultural development.

Undergraduate and graduate programmes are offered in Geology, Geophysics and Geography, which includes Environmental Studies and Development Studies. There is a graduate programme only in Physical Geography.

The Geology staff comprises 24 academic staff including eight professors, four associate professors, five Research Fellows and three technicians. There are also four Research Associates and two additional non-teaching Research Fellows. Many of these staff are also part of the Antarctic Research Centre, and of the Institute of Geophysics.

The study of Geology at VUW dates from 1909 with the appointment of Charles Cotton as the first lecturer and later the first Professor of Geology. He was later knighted for his services to Geology. There have been several other notable Geology staff over the years, including Harold Wellman, Paul Vella and Frank Evison, who established the Institute of Geophysics. Geology continues to attract a high calibre of staff. Thus the quality of teaching and research in Geology is long established and continues to be of the highest quality.

Geology is the study of the Earth. The science includes diverse topics such as Earth's internal structure, plate tectonics, earthquakes, mountain building, volcanic eruptions, the origin and evolution of life, the extinction of the dinosaurs, the formation of sedimentary basins, landscape evolution, glaciation, climate and sea level change, and Earth's natural resources: minerals, fossil fuels, soils and water.

All the teaching programmes in Geology are underpinned by active research. These include the deformation of New Zealand and its plate boundary zone, climate and sea level change, volcanism and magma genesis in the central North Island, lithospheric studies in Antarctica, crustal metamorphic and tectonic processes in Australia and the Southern Alps, the formation of oil and gas fields, and Pacific island sediment and resource management.

Institute of Geophysics

The staff of the Institute comprises five academics, including three professors (included in the Geology staff). The Institute of Geophysics provides a focus for teaching and research in geophysics at Victoria. The wider institute includes members of several Schools who have an interest in the physics of the solid and fluid earth. One staff member teaches and researches in Meteorology.

Geophysics uses physics, mathematics and geology to examine the structure, properties and processes of the Earth and its atmosphere: Earth deformation and earthquakes, the Earth’s magnetism and gravity, heat-flow processes and volcanism and atmospheric processes. At Victoria it includes the sciences of seismology, tectonics, geodesy, geomagnetism, geoelectricity, palaeomagnetism and meteorology. Its application to the solid Earth has strong connections with geology.

Geophysics is offered as a major for the BSc, in two alternative themes: Meteorology and Solid Earth Geophysics.

The Antarctic Research Centre

Established in 2004 the mission of the ARC is to research the field of Antarctic earth sciences with a focus on past climate history and processes and their influence on NZ and global climate, and as a consequence:

The Antarctic Research Centre is one of a number of centres of research excellence within the Faculty of Science and reports directly to the Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the Faculty. It is co-located within the School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, with which it shares academic staff and facilities. It is associated with researchers throughout the School and the wider University. It works closely with GNS Science. It also contributes to both undergraduate and graduate teaching and supervision in the fields of sedimentology, glaciology, paleoclimatology and Antarctic affairs.

Degrees offered by SGEES majoring in Geology

Bachelor of Science [BSc] majoring in:

Graduate programmes offered by SGEES are

More information on the programmes and courses offered by SGEES is available in the school’s website.

There are 471 students are majoring Earth Sciences or Geophysics, and 70 postgraduate students comprised of 30 PhD and 40 MSc students.

Focus of the Subject

The teaching focus of SGEES lays a strong emphasis on the components research, project work and real world applications aiming at developing students as skilled and trained professionals. Key research interest areas and groups are as follows.


Most research is carried out in the New Zealand region, but work is also carried out in Antarctica, Australia, New Guinea, Asia, North America and the Pacific islands. Research interests and topics include:

Institute of Geophysics

Solid Earth research includes: the deep structure of New Zealand using gravity, magnetic, magnetotelluric and seismic techniques, plate tectonic forces, seismic, tectonic and volcanic studies using local and distant earthquakes and controlled sources, seismo-genesis and seismic hazard assessment, fault mechanics, and palaeomagnetism for tectonics and the history of the Earth’s magnetic field. Research is currently in progress in the following areas:

Research Collaborations

Geology collaborates with the Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences (and has just signed a memorandum of understanding with GNS), Meteorological Service Geography, Physics, and Chemistry. The Antarctic Research Centre also collaborates with Biological Sciences, Political Science, Public Policy, Public Management, Economics, Law, Māori and Pacific studies.

Geophysics staff and students engage in joint research programmes with Crown Research Institutes (CRI) and the Meteorological Service, and supervision of projects is often shared with staff from the CRI’s or the Meteorological Service. In the past decade, several large geophysical projects have been undertaken as joint collaborations with colleagues from US universities and funding being shared between the two countries.

Overview of the Collection


The diversity of the School of Geography, Environmental and Earth Sciences is reflected in the diversity of resources needed. The majority of the collection is housed at the Kelburn Library, with some periodicals held off-site. Some material is also held by the John Bradley Library.

Geology (including Geophysics etc) is not a book-reliant discipline. However there are some key titles particularly for undergraduate students, which support teaching.

The Library holds collections in Geology and Geophysics with new titles in these areas being actively collected. The Library will continue collect in-depth in these areas and will purchase key older material if required. Geology and Geophysics, in common with other Science subjects rely on timely access to a range of essential journals.


Journals, especially online journals, are the key resource for Geology and Geophysics. Up-to-date information is essential. Key titles include:

Electronic Resources

The following resources are used by Geology:

Interdisciplinary databases such as Web of Science and Scopus have extensive features useful for post-graduate students, researchers and advanced learners in science and technology.

General Collection Guidelines

The primary responsibility for selection lies with the staff in the School. Academic liaison representatives of the school receive new publication notification format from which they can make selections. The staff also make online purchase recommendations.

LC Callmark Range Subject Area Current Collection Level Future Collecting Level
GB2401-GB2598 Glaciers Study Research
Q1-Q390 Science - General Study Study
QC1 - QC75 Physics - general Study Study
QC801-QC809 Geophysics Study / Research Research
QC809 Resistivity Study Study
QC811-QC849 Geomagnetism Study / Research Research
QC851-QC999 Meteorology, Climatology, and weather forecasting, including paleoclimatology Study / Research Research
QE1-QE996.5 Geology Study / Research Research
QE26-QE28 General works, treatises, and advanced textbooks;  elementary textbooks Study Study
QE28.2 Physical geology Study Study
QE28.3 Historical geology Study Study
QE38 Environmental geology Study Study
QE39 Marine geology Study Study
QE39.5. Paleoceanography, paleohydrology, paleolimnology Study Research
QE348.2 New Zealand Study research
QE350 Antarctica Study Research
QE351-QE399 Mineralogy Study Study
QE420 Petrology Study Study
QE434 Rocks – analysis – microscopic Study Research
QE438 Rocks- analysis - chemical Study Research
QE461 Igneous rocks, volcanic ash, tuff etc Study Research
QE471-QE471.15 Sedimentary rocks, sedimentology Study Research
QE472 Sedimentary structures Study Research
QE475 Metamorphism Study Research
QE499 Dynamic & structural geology: Physical & tectonic Study Research
QE508 Earth age, dating Study Study
QE511 Earth’s crust , isostasy Study Study
QE511.2 Island arcs Study Study
QE511.4-QE511.48 Plate tectonics, subduction zones Study Research
QE5514-QE516.5 Geochemistry Study Research
QE521-QE528 Volcanoes & earthquakes, Study Research
QE521.3 Volcanoes & volcanism Study Research
QE527.56 Tephrochronology Study Study
QE531-QE541 Earthquakes, Seismology Study / Research Research
QE565-QE566 Coral reefs and islands Study Study
QE599.2 Landslide hazard analysis Study Research
QE601-QE613.5 Structural Geology, geotectonics, Study Research
QE605-QE606 Joints & cleavages; faults & folds Study Study
QE621 Orogeny Study Study
QE640-QE699 Stratigraphic Study Study
QE 689 Cretaceous-Tertiary boundary Study Study
QE701-QE996.5 Paleontology Study Research
QE719 Micropaleontology Study Research
QE720 Paleoecology Study Research
QE955 Diatoms - fossil Study Study
QES590-QE599.9 Soils Study Research

Languages Collected:

English is the main language for collection purposes.

Geographical Areas Collected:

The following geographical areas are collected: Pacific, New Zealand, Antarctic.

Chronological Periods Collected

Not a criterion.

Publication Dates

Current material is essential in the sciences, particularly Geophysics. This is a rapidly developing subject which may need some retrospective collecting if there is a need to support the study teaching and research programmes or where major works are required to fill gaps.

Format Guidelines:

Electronic journals with perpetual access rights are the preferred format. Print journals are only required if electronic access is unavailable.

Purchase of eBooks will be negotiated with academics on a case by case basis. At present the Springer eBook platform (SpringerLink) is a good model. If available Springer (or a functional equivalent) would be the preferred eBook option.

The eBook format is best suited to “quick reference material such as reference books, handbooks and manuals. E-books may also be a good choice for textbooks and edited books.

Budget Guidelines:

None at present.

Classification Guidelines:

The Library of Congress classification system is used.

Preservation Guidelines:

Any monographs that are beyond repair should be assessed for re-purchase.

Digitisation Guidelines:

To be developed during 2012.

Relegation Statement

Identification of items for relegation to the CONZUL Store will be assessed once the Store is established. From 2012 the following criteria will apply:


Print journals not available electronically (including back issues) will be retained in the Library collection in the following locations:

Journals no longer required for research or teaching purposes will be cancelled (in consultation with academics). Cancelled print journals will be retained in the Library collection as follows:

Complete (uninterrupted print runs of journals for which VUW library is the sole holder should be considered for retention in the CONZUL Store.


Books will be retained in the library collection in the following locations:

Kelburn Library:

Offsite Storage:

Deselection Statement

Identification of items for relegation to the CONZUL Store will be assessed once the Store is established. From 2012 the following criteria will apply:



Note: special care will be made to retain items regardless of usage and date which fall into the following categories:

Other Guidelines/considerations

The Library endeavours to provide secure access to key scholarly resources. If a current provider discontinues access to an e-journal the library will seek to reinstate access from an alternative source if it is required.

Some courses require multiple copies of textbooks or recommended readings for teaching purposes. Multiple copies of superseded editions will be retained in the Library collection while their content is still relevant. Location will be negotiated with academics (Closed Reserve, 3-Day Loan, and main collection).

Offsite monographs and journals will be returned to the main collection if requested.

Links to other relevant Subject Level Collection Statements


Geology is an important discipline which offers an understanding of the Earth's structure, systems, processes, composition and formation of landforms. It is multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary covering biology, physics, chemistry, geography and engineering. The subject study is theoretical and applied including fieldtrips and laboratory work. The School of Geography Earth and Environmental Studies staff have extensive research ventures within the University and has ties with organizations throughout the wider Wellington community.

The School staff are actively engaged in research in many areas with national and international collaborations. In addition to books and journals the study of the subject requires use of a range of resources and tools such as maps, cartography, visual images, digital technologies including GIS and remote sensing.

Geology (including Geophysics etc) is not a book-reliant discipline. Given the multidisciplinary nature of the discipline books form an important component. The book collection supports the large undergraduate student population. E-books are an increasing component of the collection. The Library holds collections in Geology and Geophysics with new titles in these areas being actively collected. The Library will continue to collect in-depth in these areas and will purchase key older material if required.

Geology and Geophysics, in common with other Science subjects rely on timely access to a range of essential journals. Journal literature is extensively used. As this subject is dynamic and interdisciplinary, new resources will be collected in the formats suitable for the study, teaching and research needs of the school.