Dr Ingo Andreas Pecher

1995: PhD Natural Sciences, U. Kiel, Germany

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Senior Lecturer


2012-present: Senior Lecturer, University of Auckland, New Zealand

2009-2012: Senior Scientist, GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

2007-2009: Geoscience Lecturer, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, UK

2001-2007: Scientist then Senior Scientist, GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand

1998-2001: Research Associate, University of Texas Institute for Geophysics, Austin, TX, USA

1995-1998: Postdoctoral Scholar then Investigator, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA, USA

Research | Current

Seismic studies of near-seafloor hydrocarbon systems, with a focus on gas hydrates, shallow gas, and hydrocarbon seepage, form the main focus of my research.  These systems play significant roles in the global carbon cycle, have an effect on seafloor stability, and also, constitute unconventional natural-gas resources.   Tools for these studies include in particular active-source reflection (2-D and 3-D) and ocean bottom seismic data.  Currently active research projects include the following:
1.    The fate of gas hydrate systems through glacial-interglacial cycles on the Chatham Rise:  Seafloor depressions, commonly termed pockmarks, cover vast areas of the Chatham Rise.  We hypothesize that these pockmarks were formed by rapid release of gas from hydrates in response to depressurization from sealevel lowering.
2.    Gas hydrates as an energy resource: New Zealand has vast quantities of gas hydrates in a favourable geologic setting.  We analyse gas hydrate deposits with a focus on reservoir geophysics and production modelling as part of the GNS-Science-led MBIE-funded programme “Harnessing New Zealand’s Gas Hydrate Resources”
3.    The effect of gas hydrates on seafloor stability: Dissociation (“melting”) of ice-like gas hydrate to gas and water has long been implicated in submarine landslides.  In collaboration with NIWA, GNS Science, the Universities of Kiel, Bremen, and Jena in Germany, as well as Oregon State University, we are studying potential mechanisms that link gas hydrate directly with creeping submarine landslides.
4.    Imaging of plumbing systems beneath hydrocarbon seeps:  Hydrocarbon seeps are key locations for carbon transfer from sediments into the ocean.  We are analysing seismic data acquired in 2011 to investigate migration of gas to gas-vent sites as well as formation of gas hydrates and carbonates on seep sites on the Hikurangi Margin east of the North Island.


Postgraduate supervision

Current PhD students:

2015-present: P. Oluwunmi, PhD, Modelling of gas hydrate dissociation related to ocean change, seafloor failure, and economic production of gas from hydrates (primary advsior, U. Auckland; Co-advisors: R. Archer, J. Rowland)

2014-present: C. Scholz, PhD, Evolution of the Whakatane Graben (co-advisor, U. Auckland; primary advisor: J. Rowland)

2010-present: D. Fraser, Analysis of seismic reflection data from the southern Hikurangi Margin for gas hydrate occurrences (co-advisor, U. Otago; primary advisor: A. Gorman)


Past PhD students:

2012-2015, G. Herbozo, Studies of gas hydrates on the Peruvian Margin (co-advisor; U. Jena, primary advisor: N. Kukowski)

2011-2015, J. Hillman, Pockmarks on the Chatham Rise and Canterbury Basin (co-advisor, U. Otago, primary advisor: Andrew Gorman)

2008-2010: F. Domes, PhD, Assessment of the overburden influence on 4D signatures (secondary advisor, Heriot-Watt U., primary advisor: C. MacBeth)

2005-2009: G. Crutchley, PhD, Seismic studies of gas hydrates on the Hikurangi margin (co-advisor, U. Otago, primary advisor: A. Gorman)

2004-2009: M. Fohrmann, PhD, Gas hydrates offshore of Fiordland and on the Hikurangi margin (co-advsior, U. Otago, primary advisor: A. Gorman)


Current MSc students: -

Past MSc students:

2014-2015: A. Smith, MSc, Seismic studies of paleo-pockmarks on the Chatham Rise, New Zealand (co-advisor: K. Campbell)

2014-2015. J. MacMahon, High-resolution velocity analysis of seismic data to identify gas hydrates in the Tuaheni Landslide Complex on the Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (main advisor; co-advisors: J. Eccles; G. Crutchley, GNS Science)

2014-1015: J. Wild, Seismic velocities beneath creeping gas hydrate slides – analysis of ocean bottom seismometer data (main advisor; co-advisors: J. Eccles; J. Mountjoy, NIWA)

2013-2015: K. Waghorn, MSc, Pockmarks on the Chatham Rise, New Zealand, and their relation to gas hydrate dissociation, sea level fluctuations and petroleum systems (Co-advisors Lorna Strachan, Gareth Crutchley, GNS)

2013-2014: Bai Huanxin, MSc, Can weak BSRs from the base of gas hydrate stability on the Hikurangi Margin be caused by the presence of gas and hydrates in fractures? (Co-advisor: Mila Adam)

2011-2012: T. Golding, MSc, Seafloor seismic reflectivity and sonar backscattering: a geophysical  investigation of shallow gas hydrates at Porangahau Ridge, Hikurangi Margin, New Zealand (co-advisor, Victoria U. Wellington, primary advisor: J. Townend)

2009-2011: R. Srinivasan Navalpakam, MSc, AVO analysis of a weak bottom simulating reflection on the Hikurangi margin, New Zealand (co-advisor, Victoria U. Wellington, primary advisor: T. Stern)

Areas of expertise

Marine geophysics

Ocean bottom seismometers

Gas hydrates

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Gross, F., Mountjoy, J. J., Crutchley, G. J., Boettner, C., Koch, S., Bialas, J., ... Micallef, A. (2018). Free gas distribution and basal shear zone development in a subaqueous landslide - Insight from 3D seismic imaging of the Tuaheni Landslide Complex, New Zealand. EARTH AND PLANETARY SCIENCE LETTERS, 502, 231-243. 10.1016/j.epsl.2018.09.002
  • Waghorn, K. A., Pecher, I., Strachan, L. J., Crutchley, G., Bialas, J., Coffin, R., ... Papenberg, C. (2018). Paleo-fluid expulsion and contouritic drift formation on the Chatham Rise, New Zealand. Basin Research, 30 (1), 5-19. 10.1111/bre.12237
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Lorna Strachan
  • Hillman, J. I. T., Klaucke, I., Pecher, I. A., Gorman, A. R., Schneider von Deimling, J., & Bialas, J. (2018). The influence of submarine currents associated with the Subtropical Front upon seafloor depression morphologies on the eastern passive margin of South Island, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 61 (1), 112-125. 10.1080/00288306.2018.1434801
  • Pecher, I. A., Barnes, P. M., LeVay, L. J., Bourlange, S. M., Brunet, M. M. Y., Cardona, S., ... Elger, J. (2018). International ocean discovery program expedition 372 preliminary report creeping gas hydrate slides and Hikurangi LWD. (pp. 1-35). 10.14379/iodp.pr.372.2018
  • Pecher, I. A., Villinger, H., Kaul, N., Crutchley, G. J., Mountjoy, J. J., Huhn, K., ... Coffin, R. B. (2017). A fluid pulse on the Hikurangi subduction margin: Evidence from a heat flux transect across the upper limit of gas hydrate stability. Geophysical Research Letters, 44 (24), 12385-12395. 10.1002/2017GL076368
  • Crutchley, G. J., Kroeger, K. F., Pecher, I. A., Mountjoy, J. J., & Gorman, A. R. (2017). Gas Hydrate Formation Amid Submarine Canyon Incision: Investigations From New Zealand's Hikurangi Subduction Margin. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems, 18 (12), 4299-4316. 10.1002/2017GC007021
  • Kroeger, K. F., Crutchley, G. J., Hill, M. G., & Pecher, I. A. (2017). Potential for gas hydrate formation at the northwest New Zealand shelf margin - New insights from seismic reflection data and petroleum systems modelling. Marine and Petroleum Geology, 83, 215-230. 10.1016/j.marpetgeo.2017.02.025
  • Hillman, J. I. T., Lamarche, G., Pallentin, A., Pecher, I. A., Gorman, A. R., & Schneider von Deimling, J. (2017). Validation of automated supervised segmentation of multibeam backscatter data from the Chatham Rise, New Zealand. Marine Geophysical Research, 39 (1-2), 205-227. 10.1007/s11001-016-9297-9
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Geoffroy Lamarche


Contact details

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 301 - Bldg 301
New Zealand

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