Dr Sam McColl staff profile picture

Contact details +64 (06) 356 9099  ext. 84201

Dr Sam McColl

Senior Lecturer in Physical Geography

Institute of Agriculture and Environment

Roles and Responsibilities

NZ vice-president for the Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group

Reviewer for Geology, Quaternary Science Reviews, Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, Earth Surface Processes and Landforms, Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie, Geografiska Annaler, and Journal of Maps

Special Issue Editor for Earth Surface Processes and Landforms

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Professional

Contact details

  • Ph: DDI: +64 6 951 7201
    Location: 3.34, AHB
    Campus: Turitea

Qualifications

  • Doctor of Philosophy (Geology) - University of Canterbury (2013)
  • Honours (Physical Geography) - Victoria University of Wellington (2007)
  • Bachelor of Science (Biology and Geography) - Victoria University of Wellington (2006)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

My research interests are focussed around two main themes:

Landslides: I study slope failure mechanisms, causes and triggers, their geomorphic signature and impacts, and slope hazards. I apply a variety of traditional and novel techniques for monitoring and dating landslides.

Quaternary Landscapes: I study the influence of glacial cycles on slope instability, crustal deformations, and sediment flux.

Research Opportunities

  • Exploring the geomorphic work of sliding snow-packs  (ongoing) Like with glaciers, can snow pack erosion produce the landforms characteristic of glacial landscapes? If you are interested in answering this question, please get in touch.
  • Slope-Glacier Interactions  (01/02/2014) I'm interested in how glacier-buttressed rock slopes develop instability and move. I am attempting to quantify this process by: monitoring the movement of unstable, active rockslides using both ground based measurements and remote sensing; analysing changes in glacier crevasse patterns; and applying numerical modelling techniques. If you would like to get involved any either aspect of this research, please get in contact with me.
  • Large landslides in the Southern Alps: Is there a pattern to their timing?  (ongoing) Landslide distributions record the timing of seismic, climatic, geomorphic, and anthropomorphic changes. Of the 1000s in NZ, too few have been dated to discern temporal patterns. Want to change that?
  • Searching for evidence of glacial rebound in a tectonically active landscape  (ongoing) In heavily glaciated & tectonically stable parts of Earth, deglaciation induced uplift & seismicity. This project involves searching for geomorphic evidence of a glacial rebound signal in New Zealand.

Thematics

Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Earth Sciences (040000): Geochronology (040303): Geology (040300): Geomorphology and Regolith and Landscape Evolution (040601): Natural Hazards (040604): Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience (040600): Quaternary Environments (040606): Surface Processes (040607)

Keywords

Landslide Mapping, Monitoring, & Stability Assessment

Geomorphological Mapping

Hazard Assessment

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 2 6

Completed Projects

Project Title: Summer Student Scholarship 2013 - 2014

A physical geography student was awarded this scholarship to investigate landslides taking place in glacial valleys. The retreat of glaciers around the world is exposing unstable slopes, and consequently, landslides are growing more common in mountainous areas. In mountainous terrain, landslides constitute a significant natural hazard and they generate large volumes of sediments that become washed away downstream. More landsliding therefore increases risk to mountainous communities, and greater sediment production shortens the life of hydroelectric reservoirs. The student used GoogleEarth to 'fly' all around the globe looking for locations where large (> 2 hectare) landslides are beginning to develop in valleys where glaciers are thinning and retreating. So far, several landslides have been newly discovered, and the student is learning about what geological conditions are responsible for the location of these. This work provides an opportunity to learn more about the size, movement rate, and evolution of these types of landslides, and ultimately, this may provide a way to predict their fate. The student is now developing a camera system for more closely monitoring one of these landslides in the Southern Alps of New Zealand.
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Date Range: 2013 - 2014

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Project Title: Three projects and research collaborations

This fund kick-started collaborations with researchers from University of Wollongong, Australia; ETH Zurich, Switzerland; and Victoria University of Wellington. During March 2013, small sediments were extracted from ancient landslide deposits that fell from the Taranaki volcanic cone. The sediments were sent to University of Wollongong for dating using a technique that estimates how many atomic particles have escaped from the sediment since being formed during the landslide event. It is hoped that this experimental technique will provide another tool for measuring the age of ancient landslides. A successful visit to ETH Zurich was made in April, which included a tour of a landslide monitoring system in the Swiss Alps, and fruitful discussion on points of collaboration for research in NZ and the Swiss Alps. During December, the PI, a Massey summer scholarship student, and Professor Crozier (VUW), investigated a large, iconic Otago landslide called 'Earthquakes'. The landslide is unusual because it appears as a large rift in the ground. The purpose was to work out why and how the rift developed. The approach was to measure the volume of the rift, and use radar technology to probe the depth of the rift and the nature of the materials below.
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Date Range: 2013 - 2013

Funding Body: Massey University

Project Team:

Research Outputs

Journal

Abbott, S., Julian, JP., Kamarinas, I., Meitzen, KM., Fuller, IC., McColl, ST., . . . Dymond, JR. (2017). State-shifting at the edge of resilience: River suspended sediment responses to land use change and extreme storms. Geomorphology.
[Journal article]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
Marchese, E., Scorpio, V., Fuller, IC., McColl, ST., & Comiti, F. (2017). Morphological changes in alpine rivers following the end of the Little Ice Age. Geomorphology.
[Journal article]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
Dellow, S., Massey, C., Cox, S., Archibald, G., Begg, J., Bruce, Z., . . . Little, M. (2017). Landslides caused by the M<inf>w</inf>7.8 Kaikōura earthquake and the immediate response. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering. 50(2), 106-116
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.
Stirling, MW., Litchfield, NJ., Villamor, P., Van Dissen, RM., Nicol, A., Pettinga, J., . . . Zinke, R. (2017). The Mw 7.8 2016 Kaikuōra earthquake: Surface fault rupture and seismic hazard context. Bulletin of the New Zealand Society for Earthquake Engineering. 50(2), 73-84
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.
Heckmann, T., McColl, ST., & Morche, D. (2016). Retreating ice: Research in proglacial areas matters. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 41(2), 271-276
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.
Adhikari, M., Prasanna, R., Johnston, D., & McColl, S. (2015). Research agenda for Nepal: A country recovering from a mega disaster. : All India Disaster Mitigation Institute
[Internet publication]Authored by: Johnston, D., McColl, S., Prasanna, R.
Dunning, SA., Rosser, NJ., McColl, ST., & Reznichenko, NV. (2015). Rapid sequestration of rock avalanche deposits within glaciers. Nature Communications. 6
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., & Fuller, IC. (2015). Exploring the implications of advance and retreat of a New Zealand icon: Fox Glacier 2005-2015 and beyond. New Zealand Geographer. 71(2), 110-112
[Journal article]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
Mccoll, ST., & Davies, TRH. (2013). Large ice-contact slope movements: Glacial buttressing, deformation and erosion. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 38(10), 1102-1115
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2012). Paraglacial rock-slope stability. Geomorphology. 153-154, 1-16
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.
Khajavi, N., Quigley, M., McColl, ST., & Rezanejad, A. (2012). Seismically induced boulder displacement in the Port Hills, New Zealand during the 2010 Darfield (Canterbury) earthquake. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. 55(3), 271-278
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.
Mccoll, ST., Davies, TRH., & Mcsaveney, MJ. (2012). The effect of glaciation on the intensity of seismic ground motion. Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 37(12), 1290-1301
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., & Davies, TR. (2011). Evidence for a rock-avalanche origin for 'The Hillocks' "moraine", Otago, New Zealand. Geomorphology. 127(3-4), 216-224
[Journal article]Authored by: McColl, S.

Book

McColl, ST. (2014). Landslide Causes and Triggers. In Landslide Hazards, Risks, and Disasters. (pp. 17 - 42).
[Chapter]Authored by: McColl, S.
Deline, P., Gruber, S., Delaloye, R., Geertsema, M., Giardino, M., Hasler, A., . . . Schoeneich, P. (2014). Ice loss and slope stability in high-mountain regions. In W. Haeberli, & C. Whiteman (Eds.) Snow and Ice-related Hazards, Risks and Disasters. (pp. 522 - 563). Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier
[Chapter]Authored by: McColl, S.

Conference

McColl, ST., Cody, E., & Draebing, D. (2017, June). Development of an ice-buttressed slope failure: Mueller Rock-slide, New Zealand. Presented at Progressive Rock Failure. Ascona, Switzerland.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
Holdsworth, CN., McColl, ST., & Fuller, IC. (2017). Daily to seasonal movement patterns of a large, slow-moving landslide, central North Island, New Zealand. Poster session presented at the meeting of 4th World Landslide Forum. Ljubljana, Slovenia
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
Veitch, JC., Clement, AJH., Fuller, IC., Holt, KA., & McColl, ST. (2017, February). Unravelling possible climatic and/or tectonic signals preserved in Holocene coastal geomorphology around Lake Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand. Presented at ANZGG Conference. Greytown.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Clement, A., Fuller, I., Holt, K., McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Fuller, IC., Anderson, B., & Tate, R. (2017). Hillslope failure and paraglacial reworking of sediments in response to glacier retreat, Fox Valley, New Zealand. In Geophysical Research Abstracts, EGU General Assembly
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Holdsworth, C., & Massey, C.Movement of a large, slow-moving landslide in the North Island, New Zealand, controlled by porewater pressure and river flow. Poster session presented at the meeting of EGU General Assembly 2017. Vienna, Austria
[Conference Poster]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Fuller, IC., Anderson, B., & Tate, R. (2017, April). Hillslope failure and paraglacial reworking of sediments in response to glacier retreat, Fox Valley, New Zealand. Presented at EGU General Assembly 2017. Vienna, Austria.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
James, J., Brasington, J., Cook, S., Cox, S., Lotsari, E., McColl, ST., . . . Vericat, D. (2017). Quantifying river response to landsliding: experiments in DEM differencing using wide-area, structure-from-motion terrain models. In Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 19 , EGU General Assembly 2017
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: McColl, S.
Malloy, E., Fuller, IC., & McColl, ST. (2017). Chasing the mud: Analysing the geomorphic imprint of the 19-21 June rainstorm and flood event in the Whanganui, Whangaehu and Turakina catchments. , 17th Biennial Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
Tate, R., & McColl, ST. (2017). A 10-year review of an earthflow hazard model at Pukerua Bay, New Zealand. , 17th Biennial Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: McColl, S.
Veitch, JC., Clement, AC., Fuller, IC., Holt, K., & McColl, ST. (2017). Unravelling possible climatic and/or tectonic signals preserved in Holocene coastal geomorphology around Lake Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand. , 17th Biennial Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: Clement, A., Fuller, I., Holt, K., McColl, S.
Holdsworth, CN., & McColl, ST. (2017). Daily to seasonal movement patterns of a large, slow-moving landslide in the North Island, New Zealand. , 17th Biennial Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: McColl, S.
Veitch, JC., Clement, AJH., Fuller, IC., McColl, ST., & Holt, KA. (2016). Unravelling climatic and tectonic signals preserved in the Holocene coastal geomorphology around Lake Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand. Poster session presented at the meeting of New Zealand Coastal Society 24th Annual Conference
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Clement, A., Fuller, I., Holt, K., McColl, S.
Veitch, JC., Clement, AJH., Fuller, IC., Holt, KA., & McColl, ST. (2016). Unravelling possible climatic and/or tectonic signals preserved in Holocene coastal geomorphology around Lake Wairarapa, North Island, New Zealand.. Poster session presented at the meeting of Australasian Quaternary Association Conference
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Clement, A., Fuller, I., Holt, K., McColl, S.
Malloy, E., Fuller, IC., & McColl, ST. (2016). Chasing the mud: Analysing the geomorphic imprint of the 19-21 June rainstorm and flood event in the Whanganui, Whangaehu and Turakina catchments.. Poster session presented at the meeting of NZ Hydrological Society Conference
[Conference Poster]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
Lane, AL., Peterson, PG., Hedley, CC., McColl, ST., & Fuller, IC. (2016, February). Using Ground Penetrating Radar to map soil drainage patterns for maximizing irrigation efficiency.. Presented at NZ Geographical Society Conference. Dunedin.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: Fuller, I., McColl, S.
Holdsworth, C., & McColl, ST. (2016). Use of LiDAR to explore deep-seated gravitational slope deformation scarps in the forested mountains of the Wellington region. Poster session presented at the meeting of New Zealand Geographical Society Conference
[Conference Poster]Authored by: McColl, S.Contributed to by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., McCabe, M., & Holdsworth, C. (2016). The causes and agricultural impacts of large, slow-moving landslides: Case-studies from North Island, New Zealand. , New Zealand Geographical Society
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Todd, M., & Holdsworth, C. (2016, February). The erosion and sediment delivery from large, slow-moving landslides in the North Island, New Zealand.. Presented at New Zealand Geographical Society. Dunedin.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
James, J., Brasington, J., Cook, S., Cox, S., Lotsari, E., McColl, S., . . . Vericat, D. (2016). Multi-temporal Reconstruction of a 35km reach of the Dart River Valley, New Zealand with the Structure-from-Motion pipeline (SfM). (pp. 10484 - 10484). , EGU General Assembly Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: McColl, S.Contributed to by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., & McCabe, M. (2016). The causes and agricultural impacts of large translational landslides: Case-studies from North Island, New Zealand. Landslides and Engineered Slopes. Experience, Theory and Practice. Vol. 3 (pp. 1401 - 1408).
[Conference Paper in Published Proceedings]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2015, July). Long-gone and forgotten: The early response of rock slopes to glacier downwasting and implications for legacy sediments in glaciated mountain systems. Presented at XIX INQUA Congress 2015. Nagoya, Japan.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2015, September). Keynote Address: Early hillslope response and reworking of landslide sediments: Challenges for quantifying landslide-sediment contributions in glaciated mountain systems.. Presented at 9th IAG/AIG SEDIBUD Workshop, Sediment Dynamics in Cold Climate Environments. Kaunertal, Tyrol/Austria.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
Reznichenko, N., Dunning, S., Rosser, N., & McColl, ST. (2015). Pilot study on tracing the rapidly buried rock avalanche deposits within the accumulation zone of glacier. , EGU General Assembly 2015
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Crozier, MJ., & Beavan, CJ. (2014). Proposed movement mechanisms and causes for the ‘Earthquakes’ Landslide, Otago, NZ. Poster session presented at the meeting of New Zealand Geosciences Conference 2014
[Conference Poster]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2014, November). WHEN THE ICE GIVES WAY: DEFORMATION OF ICE-BUTTRESSED SLOPES. Presented at New Zealand Geosciences 2014. Taranaki, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Stahl, T., & Cook, SJ. (2014, November). Keynote address: Stranded shorelines of Lake Wakatipu, Otago: The footprints of a sleeping giant. Presented at Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group. Tamborine, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
Jarman, D., McColl, ST., Cook, S., & Hoon, S. (2014). Can valley rebound after concentrated erosion of bedrock drive montane rock slope failure? The Glen Roy (Scotland) geodetic datum.. , 3rd Slope Tectonics Conference
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: McColl, S.Contributed to by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2014, July). When the ice gives way: Deformation of ice-buttressed slopes. Presented at 2014 Snow and Ice Research Group. Aoraki/Mt Cook.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., & Davies, TRH. (2013, April). Ice-contact slope movements; their abundance and significance during deglaciation. Presented at European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2013. Vienna, Austria.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2012, November). Mueller Rockslide – a large, slow-moving rockslide in Aoraki/Mount Cook National Park. Presented at Geosciences Society of New Zealand 2012 Conference. Hamilton, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., & Davies, TRH. (2012, December). Can glaciers change the way that mountains shake?. Presented at Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group 15th Biennial Meeting. Bundanoon, NSW, Australia.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., & Davies, TRH. (2011, January). Post-glacial landslides are inevitable but what happens before deglaciation?. Presented at Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group 14th Biennial Meeting. Oamaru, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2011, January). Geomorphology in the eye of the beholder. Presented at Australian and New Zealand Geomorphology Group 14th Biennial Meeting. Oamaru, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., & Davies, TRH.(2011, April 3). Rock avalanche demolishes paleoclimatic evidence in New Zealand: ‘The Hillocks’. In Geophysical Research Abstracts Vol. 13 , European Geosciences Union General Assembly 2011
[Conference Abstract]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., & Davies, TRH. (2010, February). The Hillocks: “kame fields” or rock avalanche?. Presented at Snow and Ice Group (NZ) Annual Workshop. Queenstown, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Davies, TRH., & McSaveney, MJ. (2010). Glacier retreat and rock-slope stability: debunking debuttressing. In AL. Williams, GM. Pinches, CY. Chin, TJ. McMorran, & CI. Massey (Eds.) Geologically Active: Proceedings of the 11th IAEG Congress. Auckland, New Zealand 5-10 September 2010. (pp. 467 - 474). : 11th Congress of the International Association for Engineering Geology and the Environment
[Conference Paper in Published Proceedings]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2009). Climate-change driven slope failures in New Zealand. Poster session presented at the meeting of Past Climates Symposium 2009. Wellington, New Zealand
[Conference Poster]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST. (2009, November). International summer school on rockslides and related phenomena. Presented at Joint Geological and Geophysical Societies of New Zealand 2009 Conference. Oamaru, New Zealand.
[Conference Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Davies, TRH., & McSaveney, MJ. (2009). Paraglacial Geomorphology in New Zealand. Poster session presented at the meeting of 7th International Conference on Geomorphology. Melbourne, Australia
[Conference Poster]Authored by: McColl, S.

Other

McColl, ST. (2014, October). Climate change and the landslide apocalypse: The role of stress-change during deglaciation.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.
McColl, ST., Stahl, T., & Cook, S. (2013, June). Holocene uplift and water level changes at Lake Wakatipu, Otago: implications for seismic and flood hazard.
[Oral Presentation]Authored by: McColl, S.

Supervision and Teaching

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Supervisor 1 0
CoSupervisor 3 0

Teaching

I currently teach into the following undergraduate courses at Massey:

Introduction to Physical Geography (100 level)

Geographical Research Techniques (200 level)

Rivers and Slopes (200 level)

Climate Change and Natural Hazards (200 level)

Alpine Physical Geography (300 level)

Applied Field Geomorphology (300 level)

Global Environmental Issues (300 level)

and post-graduate courses:

Advanced Geomorpholgical Field Techniques (700 level)

Advanced Applied Geomorphology (700 level)

I have previously taught into the following courses at CPIT (2010-2012)

Engineering Site Investigation (Degree)

Geology for Civil Engineers (Degree and Diploma)

I have supervised or co-supervised the following postgraduate projects:

2013: The geomorphology and causes of a deep-seated translational landslide: Bird Slide, Taihape, New Zealand. (McCabe, M; Honours Dissertation)

2014: Towards using landslides as a proxy for estimating co-seismic shaking associated with the A.D. 181 Taupo Eruption (Bretherton, Honours Dissertation).

Current Doctoral Supervision

Supervisor of:

  • Emma-Nell Cody - PhD
    Quantifying hillslope response to glacier retreat; landslide failure mechanics, processes, and impacts

CoSupervisor of:

  • Will Conley Jr - PhD
    Channel change and sediment transfers in the Ruamahanga catchment: a multi-scalar approach
  • James Veitch - PhD
    Holocene evolution of lake Wairarapa basin and connecting catchments
  • Mina Adhikari - PhD
    Modelling Earthquake Hazard Preparedness in Recovery Period in Nepal

Media and Links

Media

  • 23 Jan 2015 - Radio
    Radio NZ interview - Fox Glacier
    Short live interview on Radio NZ to discuss the recent retreat and impacts at Fox glacier.
  • 20 Apr 2015 - Television
    Television interview on Fox Glacier research
    Interviewed by Aljazeera television on some new research that I am undertaking at Fox Glacier.

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