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Two examples are the Onepuhi tephra (0.57 million years ago) and the Kupe tephra (0.64 million years ago).
Dates of tephra layers allow Alan to pin down the ages of some of the other layers above and below them.
Each of the main layers near Whanganui represents rocks laid down during interglacials, whereas the boundaries between the layers mark where rock was eroded away during glacial periods. These cores provide uninterrupted sequences of rocks going back millions of years.
Scientists have measured oxygen isotopes present in the shells of microscopic fossil plankton, called foraminifera, in these rocks.
What’s more, many of the layers are full of fossils.
These help geologists date the rocks and provide clues to what the environment was like at the time.
As well as the statue erected in memory of those who had died at Moutoa ‘in defence of law and order against fanaticism and barbarism’, a statue of the Pūtiki chief Te Keepa Te Rangihiwinui (‘Major Kemp’) celebrated his victories over Te Kooti, the ‘murderer of women and children’.
This dispute highlighted the fact that issues dating back to the initial European settlement of the area remained unresolved.
To view the result of a past Wanganui meeting, click on the date below and you will find a complete set of results including margins, time, track condition, breeding and more.Controversy was rekindled by debate about whether Wanganui should be renamed Whanganui.Early lexicographers had missed the silent ‘h’ in the local Māori dialect and spelt the town - and the river - Wanganui.The rock layers at Whanganui are stacked up with the oldest at the bottom and the youngest at the top, but tectonic activity has tilted the layers slightly.This means that, if you head west along the beach in your 4WD, which you can at low tide, the rocks you drive past get older.