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EarthFest brings geosciences to the community

Our Science

18 December 2023

EarthFest banner

EarthFest – a community event preceding this year’s Geosciences NZ conference – was a chance for tamariki and their families to get up close and personal with Earth sciences and meet people working in its many different fields.

Part science festival, part careers expo, there was something for everyone! The event was sponsored by the Beneath the Waves programme as a great way to engage and educate community members about the breadth of geological wonders in New Zealand.

GNS staff manned eight of the 27 exhibits with several interactive displays including Rocks of Te-Riu-aMaui/Zealandia, What’s that rock?, Rafter Radiocarbon Lab, Drones for Science, Make a Quake, AR Sandbox, A Big World of Tiny Fossils, Find A Fossil, and Historic Geophysics Instruments.

GNS people also ran several demonstrations throughout the day including Drone Flying, Mentos Volcano, and Quake Point. The festival also featured panel discussions and a live chat with Scott Base in Antarctica!

Kids drawing volcanoes
Kids drawing volcanoes

A popular display was the Mentos Volcano. Kids were enthralled with the classic coke-and-Mentos experiment to demonstrate what factors influence how explosive a volcanic eruption is. Festival goers were also keen to enter the ‘Draw a Volcano’ competition, with entrants displaying their scientific understanding of a volcanic structure alongside their artistic and creative talents.

Draw a Volcano entries
Draw a Volcano entries

EarthFest organiser Jenny Stein said EarthFest was everything she hoped it would be.

“I wanted to make a space for people and organisations across Earth science research, industry and education sectors to come together and collectively show the community how awesome, exciting, diverse and relevant our work really is.

“I wanted EarthFest to be an example of what we as a geoscience community could be doing to promote Earth science to the public, both as a cool thing to learn and know about, but also offering a range of potential career options for their kids.”

In addition to Beneath the Waves other sponsors included GeoNet and GNS’ ECLIPSE, NPRC/PETLAB and PMAP projects, without whose sponsorship EarthFest 2023 could not have taken place.