Geology of New Zealand

Rhawn Denniston, professor of Geology

Learning without boundaries

New Zealand is the perfect natural laboratory to learn about all aspects of geology. You'll hike over mountains, glaciers, fault lines, and beaches in order to explore one of the most beautiful and geological interesting areas on the planet.

Student field notes from an immersive geology field course to New Zealand.

Student field notes from one of the Geology of New Zealand field course trips.

Course highlights

  • Traversing the boundary between tectonic plates along a stream 
  • Tracing the Alpine fault at the base of the Southern Alps
  • Five days of hiking and mapping the geology of Cape Farewell
  • Hot springs and glaciers at Franz Josef

Student reflection

Amanda Houts, Jefferson City, Missouri

Geology major

Traveling to New Zealand was one of those eye opening and life-changing opportunities that Cornell offers its students. I think that traveling abroad with a class is one of the first exposures into another culture and country for many students, which is a very rewarding and special experience itself. But this class was more than an opportunity to travel abroad; it provided a fantastic location to actually learn in the field and apply classic and foundational geologic field mapping skills.

Between hiking around the rolling hills and beautiful coastline mapping outcrops and identifying rock units, to walking on a glacier in the Southern Alps, to hiking up a mountain to view outcrops that can be found in only a handful of locations around the world, this course was a complete immersion into the subject matter.

The skills I learned in this course helped develop and refine the critical thinking skills needed for boots-on-the-ground geology, project management, and independent thought which are invaluable as you continue your education at Cornell and in life post-graduation.