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GNS Science Photo Library

Earth Beneath Our Feet


Three-dimensional computer modelling has been developed at GNS Sciences over the past 10 years with the long-term aims of understanding the geometry, fluid flows and layer properties of geological units in the Taupo Volcanic Zone (TVZ).

Three-dimensional geological models have been developed or are in development:
  • in four regions of the TVZ: (Figure 1)
  • Rangitaiki Plains (Figure 2),
  • the Tauranga region between the Kaimai Range and the coast from Waihi Beach to Te Puke (Figure 3);
  • the Lake Rotorua catchment (Figure 4);
  • the area between Taupo and Waiotapu including the Reporoa Basin (Figure 5);
  • and the Lake Taupo catchment including the Tongariro Power Development catchment (Figure 6)

These models have applications to assessments of groundwater resources. For example restoration of Lake Rotorua water quality requires a good understanding of the groundwater system because groundwater plays a key role in the transport of nutrients from the land to Lake Rotorua. The 3D geological model of the Lake Rotorua catchment includes the formations that are important for groundwater flow and is used in the development of a groundwater flow model of the catchment.

These models also have applications to assessments of geothermal resources. For example regional 3D models of geology can be used to identify the large-scale water flow ‘cells’ associated with geothermal fields.

Are you interested in assisting this project? There is scope to include students in this exciting adventure in modelling - please contact Paul White ( if you have an interest.

P. A. White, C. Meilhac, G. Kilgour
GNS Science, Wairakei Research Centre, Private Bag 2000, Taupo

Version created 20170612-1955