Pullar-Vucetich Prize

Martin Danisik2022 Pullar-Vucetich Prize winner:

Martin Danisik


Martin Danisik, Curtin University, Australia, for his paper:

Danišík, M., Lowe, D.J., Schmitt, A. K., Friedrichs, B., Hogg, A. G., and Evans, N. J. 2020: Sub-millennial eruptive recurrence in the silicic Mangaone Subgroup tephra sequence, New Zealand, from Bayesian modelling of zircon double-dating and radiocarbon ages.

The paper involves the dating, for the first time, of the entire stratigraphic sequence of 13 rhyodacitic to rhyolitic tephra beds of the Mangaone Subgroup (MSGp). These beds were erupted from the Okataina Volcanic Centre (OVC) between ~43 ka and  31 ka, with the entire sequence emplaced in ~12,100 years, representing a surprisingly rapid eruption frequency of one event per ~930 years on average.

Underlying this work is the U-based zircon double-dating method that Martin developed during his post-doc at Waikato University. The technique has provided a new method to accurately date relatively young magmatic and eruption events that are difficult to date by other radiometric methods.

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Past Pullar-Vucetich Prize winners

Year Person From For work on
2020 Callum Rees Massey University Tephrostratigraphic constraints on sedimentation and tectonism in the Whanganui Basin
2018 Magret Damaschke Massey University Tephrostratigraphic research into the eruptive history of Mount Taranaki.
2016 Jenni Hopkins Victoria A new way for identifying cryptotephras in lacustrine sediment cores.
2012 Natalia Pardo Massey Reconstructing the largest explosive eruptions of Mt. Ruapehu.
2010 Michael Turner Macquarie University Oxidation states in titanomagnetites to distinguish the different eruption styles of Mt Taranaki.  
2008 Maria Gehrels Plymouth University Cryptotephras in northern New Zealand.
2006 Brad Pillans ANU Pleistocene silicic tephras of Wanganui Basin
2004 Alan Palmer Massey Onland and offshore tephra studies
2002 Vicki Smith Auckland Okataina Volcanic Centre
2000 Dennis Eden Palmerston North Multi-sourced distal tephras and landscape evolution, eastern North Island
1998 Shane Cronin Massey Tephra identification and Ruapehu and Tongariro ring plains
1996 Susan Donoghue Massey/HKU Tephrostratigraphic work on style of prehistoric eruptions, Mt Ruapehu
1994 Brent Alloway Auckland Tephrostratigraphy and chronology of the Taranaki and Wanganui regions
1992 Phil Shane Victoria Plio-Pleistocene tephrostratigraphic correlations in southern North Island
1988 No award made - -
1986 David Lowe Waikato Quaternary tephrostratigraphy of the Waikato Basin

Alan Pullar and Colin Vucetich

In the 1950s and 1960s Alan Pullar (left) and Colin Vucetich (right) worked for the DSIR Soil Bureau, mapping soils in the North Island.   Alan worked in Gisborne and Whakatāne, and Colin around Rotorua.  They recognised that the soils were formed on volcanic ash layers, which were often visible in road cuttings.

The men started tracing out distinctive ash layers across the region. Work on ash layers (later called tephrostratigraphy) was outside official Soil Bureau policy and was banned. Much of their work was therefore done in weekends and holidays on what they called ‘secret correlation missions’.

Between 1963 and 1975 Colin and Alan published a series of papers on the sequence and characteristics of the main volcanic eruptions in the Taupō and Rotorua region. This work has been the foundation for later volcanological studies as well as the understanding of soil properties.

Initial funds for the Pullar Vucetich Prize were donated by family and colleagues of Alan Pullar and Colin Vucetich.