Steph Coursey

Steph Coursey staff profile picture

School of Agriculture and Environment
College of Sciences


Thesis Title
Post-glacial geomorphic evolution of Lake Wakatipu basin and landslide-generated tsunami hazards

Research Description
My PhD research focuses on the post-glacial development of the Lake Whakatipu basin and the landslide-related hazards associated with this dynamic environment. The goal is to quantify the hazards associated with slope instability, including the potential for landslide-generated tsunamis, and the risk to settlements around the lake. In 2019, NIWA acquired high-resolution bathymetric data of Lake Whakatipu. These preliminary data show a highly dynamic delta and a deep canyon system in the upper end of the lake, with evidence of erosion and landsliding beneath the lake surface. In addition to analysing the existing data, repeat surveys of the lake will be conducted to understand how this lake and delta system operates, and assess the hazards associated with slope instability below the lake surface. New data, in the form of sediment coring, seismic surveys, and multibeam echo sounder surveys, will be collected and integrated to aid in the development of a model of evolution of the lake basin and sedimentary processes operating in the delta.

Personal Description
I completed my BSc in Geography as a Massey distance student, while working and raising a family. In 2020, I made the decision to leave my job and enrol full time in the BSc (Hons) programme. The Honours degree enabled me to gain practical skills through field work, and my passion for physical geography research continued to grow. I was fortunate to have enthusiastic and encouraging lecturers and I jumped at the chance to work with them on my PhD project. I thoroughly enjoy field work and the research process, and hope to work as a geomorphologist after my PhD.

Professor Ian Fuller
Mr Samuel McColl
Dr Joshu Mountjoy
Professor Sean Fitzsimons