COT at the IAVCEI Scientific Assembly, Rotorua, New Zealand (30 Jan – 3 Feb 2023) 

COT at the IAVCEI Scientific Assembly, Rotorua, New Zealand (30 Jan – 3 Feb 2023) 


The last few days of January and the first few days of February 2023 – unfortunately coincided with a “weather bomb” that wreaked havoc on Auckland and other parts of northern North Island of New Zealand – saw the successful running of the international volcanology conference held in Rotorua under the auspices of IAVCEI (International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior).  


Flying the flag for the key sponsors. The city centre was festooned with these flags and a public session “Volcanofest” occupied an entire day (Thursday 2 Feb) with volcano art and photography, experiments and game demonstrations, a Q & A panel, and a “meet a volcanologist” session for families and children. Photo: D.J. Lowe

It was a relief that the 2023 meeting finally went ahead with 860 in-person registrants and 203 virtual participants despite numerous problems with the wet weather and temporary closure of Auckland Airport that disrupted travel arrangements for scores of participants. Some participants “travelled” for nearly 5 days to get to the meeting and some never made it. Also, three of five mid-conference field trips were cancelled because of very heavy rain and poor visibility. Nevertheless, the conference was a great success and many felt it was the best they had ever attended. Refreshments and lunches provided throughout the conference were excellent, and the hosting staff and IT support staff were very helpful. Nine parallel sessions ran each day along with plenary sessions and two ECR plenary sessions. All sessions were on line and recorded. The fact that 51% of participants were early career researchers (ECRs) or students, helped make the conference very memorable and enjoyable.

Image 1

Plenary session audience. Photo: D.J. Lowe

CoT Pre-conference workshop and field trip

One of the pre-conference workshops was tephra-related: “From field apps to data repositories: improving tephra data discoverability, access, and workflows to support next generation research”, organised by Steven Kuehn, Kristi Wallace, Ellen Nelson, Andrei Kurbatov and Kerstin Lehnert. The workshop was the continuation of an ongoing project under the auspices of the CoT entitled “Community established best practice recommendations for tephra studies — from collection through analysis”, with a milestone (open access) paper by the group being published in Nature Scientific data last year. At the same time, a history of CoT was published (open access here) which highlighted the many developments and personalities of the tephra research spanning the last 60 years and beyond

For a field visit and a chance to try out the Strabo app for field data collection, David Lowe, Tehnuka Ilanko, and students Josh Hughes and Richard Melchert of the tephra Seismites Research Group at Waikato arranged an excursion to a tephra outcrop at a nearby pumice quarry on Okareka Loop Rd. For those interested their field guide has more details.

Image 2

Tephra workshop participants (with Waikato assistants Tehnuka, Josh, and Richard at far left) happy and excited to see their first New Zealand tephra layers a mere 10 minutes away from the city. The main thick bedded unit is Rotorua tephra, c. 15,600 yrs old, within 2-3 km north of its source vent now occupied by rhyolite domes near Lake Tikitapu. Photo: D.J. Lowe

Image 3

Pre-Rotorua tephra deposits at Okareka Loop Rd sequence. Photo: D.J. Lowe

CoT sessions

CoT sponsored two Tephrochronology related session at the Rotorua scientific assembly:

(1) “Tephrochronology, new methods and applications for chronostratigraphy and beyond” held on Monday 30 January, which was co-convened by Jenni Hopkins (Victoria University of Wellington), Britta Jensen (University of Alberta), and David Lowe (University of Waikato) with 18 papers (8 oral, 10 poster).

Image 5
Image 6

Jordan Lubbers (top) presenting his paper, with Jenni Hopkins and Madison Clarke chairing the first tephra session. Imogen Gabriel (bottom) presenting her poster. Photos: D.J. Lowe

(2) “Constraining the tempo and magnitude of past highly explosive volcanism using tephrochronology: implications for volcanic hazard assessments” comprised 13 papers (4 oral, 9 posters) on Thursday 2 February, and was co-convened by Paul Albert (Swansea University), Karen Fontijn (Université libre de Bruxelles), Francesca Forni (University of Milan), Julie Belo (GEOMAR, Kiel) and Steffen Eisele (NTU, Singapore).

Image 1

Lauren Davies (top) presenting her paper in the Thursday tephra session. Below discussions in front of Paul Albert’s poster at Tuesday’s poster session associated with the second CoT tephra session (Left to right; Hannah Buckland, Paul Albert, Will Hutchinson). Photo: D.J. Lowe

Both sessions were very well attended, comprising of excellent papers delivered by all, and included a high proportion of ECRs.

COT meeting and dinner

Britta Jensen as president of the CoT executive committee convened a meeting of tephrochronologists on Thursday 2 February at 6 pm. The new CoT Executive was introduced following the recent elections. Around 25 members of CoT enjoyed a special dinner at Wild Rice Thai Restaurant in “Eat Streat”, Rotorua, from 7.30 pm to around 10 pm on Thursday 2 February.

Image 3

CoT group photo from the Wild Rice Thai Restaurant, Rotorua. Photo: B. Jensen.

More News

CoT Elections (2023) – Join the Team

The Commission on Tephrochronology is having their general election this month! COT is soliciting nominations for positions until around January 20th. Please send nominations and a short biography to Britta (, Peter Abbott (, and Paul Albert ( Self-nominations are…

read more

CoT at IAVCEI 2023 (Rotorua, NZ)

Happy New Year! COT is sponsoring two sessions at IAVCEI 2023 Scientific Assembly (Jan 29th to Feb 3rd) with a great line up of oral and poster presentations (the programme is now available Tephrochronology: new methods and applications for…

read more

CoT Membership

If you wish to become a member of the CoT and be placed on the mailing list please complete the CoT Membership Form found using the link below to a google doc. If you could also notify us of you…

read more

CoT Dinner, IAVCEI 2023 (Rotorua, NZ)

Are you attending the IAVCEI 2023 Scientific Assembly? A Commission on Tephrochronology (CoT) dinner is being arranged for Thursday February 2nd at 19:30 pm at Wild Rice Thai, “Eat Streat” (1114 Tutanekai Street), Rotorua: The restaurant is an easy…

read more

INQUA Roma 2023: Tephrochronology Session

Session 72: The role of Tephrochronology in the study of Earth system dynamics during the Quaternary: Event timings, duration and frequencies Oral Presentations: Wednesday, 19 July 4:15pm – 6:15pm and continues Thursday 20th July 8.30am-10.30am Poster Presentations: Thursday, 20th July…

read more