Contact details +6469517855

Julie Palmer MSc, BSc(H), BSc

Senior Lecturer in Earth Science

School of Agriculture and Environment

My research career has always focussed on the stratigraphy and sedimentology of New Zealand and in particular the Central and Lower North Island.The development and analysis of thesedimentary basins in Lower North Island from adjacent to the ranges west to Taranaki has been the mainstay of my research and that of my post-graduate students.This research extends a 3+ decade career that ommenced working on the stratigraphic and sedimentary systems of the Taranaki oil and gas fields. In my academic career I have applied industry experience to undergraduate teaching and post-graduate supervision. Familiarity with NZ Cenozoic stratigraphy got me involved
in a collaborative Marsden Grant  “Oligocene Land Crisis”  and applications of stratigraphy in a wider context. Latest research has focussed on younger sedimentary systems in Whanganui-Manawatu region where I'm supervising stratigraphic and
sedimentological studies on acquifers and groundwater and their application to rural and urban development of these regions.

In NE Manawatu thick deposits of, in places fossiliferous, gravels and sands, presently 100 to 300m above mean sea level, were mapped by my MSc student, Callum Rees, to determine their geological significance and origin. We published details of the regional geology and its chronology, using rhyolitic tephra marker beds and macrofauna. An in depth study of fan deposits in the area around Saddle Road provides insight into formation of the ranges and the provenance and transport direction(s) of paleo drainage systems. A paleogeographic model of the Lower Pohangina Valley was produced and places the succession in context, proposing these Quaternary deposits were more extensive in the past; we suggest uplift has resulted in piercement of the greywacke bedrock through the cover beds, as they are eroded, and formation of the ranges. The  data from high resolution chronostratigraphic studies provide control on the timing of sedimentation and deformation in the region. This research is an important insight into the sedimentary facies deposited widely over the region and the geological development of Manawatu. The lithologies, buried at depth away from the ranges, are likely to be important acquifers for Ashhurst and Palmerston North so understanding the facies and its architectures along the foothills of the ranges  assists modelling where they occur at depth. Furthermore the poorly indurated nature and propensity to erosion of the coverbeds is critical to land use and roading developments proposed for the area. Callum went on to complete a PhD mapping the geology of the Pourewa sub-catchment of Rangitikei. These data were used to develop a hydrogeological model for the Pourewa.

An interest in geoheritage and geoeducation is an important part of my most recent research ventures, such as “Mudstone Country of Wairarapa” and the need to share the message about the importance of Earth Science to society. I work with local schools to promote Earth Science and take teachers on local field trips to show them features first hand and to help build their confidence. I want to raise the profile of Earth Science and it's important role in addressing Environmental problems in our urban and rural regions.

My most recent focuses research on Plio-Pleistocene sedimentation in NE Manawatu adjacent to the ranges. This is research extends a career, that commenced over 3 decades ago, working on the stratigraphic and sedimentary systems of the Taranaki oil and gas fields. Familiarity with NZ Cenozoic stratigraphy got me involved in  Marsden Grant  “Oligocene Land Crisis”.  I apply my industry experience to undergraduate teaching and post-graduate supervision.My research focus has moved to the younger sedimentary systems of Whanganui-Manawatu region where I’ve supervised studies on the acquifers and groundwater and their application to rural and urban development of these regions.

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Contact details

  • Ph: 3505799 extension 84855
    Location: 1.21, AgHortB
    Campus: Manawatu


  • Master of Science - Victoria University (1979)
  • Bachelor of Science (Hons) - Victoria University (1976)
  • Bachelor of Science - Victoria University (1975)

Research Expertise

Research Interests

My research interests include:

  • Plio-Pleistocene geology of Whanganui-Manawatu and applications to hyrdogeology and land use
  • Stratigraphic and sedimentary systems of the Taranaki Oil and Gas fields
  • Oligocene sea level maxima and drowning event
  • Geoheritage of Manawatu, Wairarapa and Coromandel
  • Geoeducation - getting the Earth Science message out there.


Resource Development and Management

Area of Expertise

Field of research codes
Basin Analysis (040301): Earth Sciences (040000): Geology (040300): Palaeontology (incl. Palynology) (040308): Petroleum and Coal Geology (040309): Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience (040600): Quaternary Environments (040606): Sedimentology (040310): Stratigraphy (incl. Biostratigraphy and Sequence Stratigraphy) (040311): Surface Processes (040607)

Research Projects

Summary of Research Projects

Position Current Completed
Project Leader 0 1

Consultancy and Languages


  • English
    Last used: Everyday
    Spoken ability: Excellent
    Written ability: Excellent

Teaching and Supervision

Courses Coordinated

Summary of Doctoral Supervision

Position Current Completed
Main Supervisor 0 1
Co-supervisor 1 1

Current Doctoral Supervision

Co-supervisor of:

  • Boxin Li - Doctor of Philosophy
    Phreatomagmatic volcanism of intraplate volcanic fields in NE China

Completed Doctoral Supervision

Main Supervisor of:

  • 2014 - ~ Sadaf - Doctor of Philosophy
    A non-conventional model to assess the exploration and production potential of the Waipawa formation: A possible source rock in the East Coast Basin

Co-supervisor of:

  • 2019 - Callum Rees - Doctor of Philosophy
    The Hydrogeology of the Pourewa Sub-Catchment, Rangitikei, New Zealand

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