Tim Stern

Professor School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Teaching in 2017

Prof Tim Stern profile picture


Recent Publications from 2006 - Now

Research interests

My research is concerned with the structure and tectonics of the continents. I study the source and causes of volcanism, mountain building and sedimentary basin formation, with a focus on the exploration of Antarctica and the wider New Zealand continent.

I have ongoing research collaborations with GNS Science in Wellington and with colleagues in the UK, Europe, USA and Australia.

My broad research interests are:

  • Continental transform faults
  • The origin of andesite magmatism
  • Small scale convection in the mantle and its role in continental tectonics

These topics have led to a focus on areas such as central South and North Island, and the Transantarctic Mountains.

Since 2004 I have led, of co-led, three Marsden funded programs – seismic exploration of the North Island’s upper mantle; recording and interpreting microearthquakes on the central section of the Alpine fault; and an investigation of mantle processes that drive the uplift of the central North and South Island.

A Royal Society James Cook fellowship (from March 2010 - March 2012) enabled me to pursue an interest in mantle instabilities and the role they play in tectonics. I spent half of the fellowship time at Leeds University working on finite element codes that simulate Rayleigh-Taylor type- viscous deformation of the mantle.

In 2011 -2012 I was also involved with SAHKE seismic experiment across the lower North Island. The main focus of this project was the structure of the plate boundary beneath the Wellington region and the more general problem of understanding how subduction zones work.

Prof Tim Stern CV 2014 pdf351KB