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Philip Barnes

Philip Barnes, Principal Scientist Marine Geology, NIWA

I’ve always been interested in the natural landscape around me and how it came to be like it is, whether it be on land or under water."

Philip first became interested in earth science and landscapes whilst at secondary school. It was only when he was studying at university that he really developed a passion for working in geological research. Philip studied at both Victoria University of Wellington and Canterbury University.

He has since spent more than 25 years working as a Marine Geologist and learning about how plate tectonics affects New Zealand and its surrounding ocean floor. The East Coast of North Island has long been one of his focus areas. Philip has been involved in many marine surveys to map the seafloor, identify active faults, and evaluate their earthquake history and seismic hazard. 

He is currently exploring how and at what rates the convergence across the eastern North Island is accommodated by faulting, and is one of the lead proponents of an international research team hoping to drill samples from the Hikurangi subduction margin in 2018.

Philip hopes that his research work will make us better prepared for natural disasters associated with major earthquakes, tsunami and landslides.