Aeolian Aspect

Aeolian Studies

Coastal Aspect

Seismic Aspect

Tree-Ring Studies








The Haast region in New Zealand (Figure 1) has been a focus of study for years as a way to determine, not only how the unique landscape was formed but also as a way to understand the seismic history of the area. These seismic events that sent sizeable amounts of sediment down the river systems date back to 1460 (Goff and Wells, 2006) with a scattering of other large events in the geomorphic record. The Haast dune system undergoes much geomorphic change, since it falls in an area that plays as a junction of three major erosional and depositional forces; the current of the Tasman Sea, the wind associated with the Tasman Sea, the powerful rivers that flow through the area, and the seismic activity that takes place in the high elevations of the Southern Alps.  The chronology is not an easy thing to tell even with all of these different factors affecting the area because they are all so variable.

New Zealand has one of the highest sediment transport loads in the world, and much of the South Island’s sediment load is deposited in the Haast region where it is then susceptible to the aeolian and coastal processes. Much of the change results in leaving an intricate dune system that can be used as a chronologic indicator of different earthquake activity in the Alpine Fault zone near the west coast in New Zealand.  Earthquakes in the Alpine Fault zone cause large influxes in the amount of available sediment for the Haast and Okuru river systems (Goff and Wells, 2006).   The large jump in available sediments results in very rapid change in the dunes that are located in the area.