Herman, F., Cox, S. C. & Kamp, P. J. J. (2009). Low-temperature thermochronology and thermokinematic modeling of deformation, exhumation, and development of topography in the central Southern Alps, New Zealand. Tectonics, 28, 1-21.
Permanent Research Commons link: http://hdl.handle.net/10289/3542
Apatite and zircon (U-Th)/He and fission track ages were obtained from ridge transects across the central Southern Alps, New Zealand. Interpretation of local profiles is difficult because relationships between ages and topography or local faults are complex and the data contain large uncertainties, with poor reproducibility between sample duplicates. Data do form regional patterns, however, consistent with theoretical systematics and corroborating previous observations: young Neogene ages occur immediately southeast of the Alpine Fault (the main plate boundary structure on which rocks are exhumed); partially reset ages occur in the central Southern Alps; and older Mesozoic ages occur further toward the southeast. Zircon apparent ages are older than apatite apparent ages for the equivalent method. Three-dimensional thermokinematic modeling of plate convergence incorporates advection of the upper Pacific plate along a low-angle detachment then up an Alpine Fault ramp, adopting a generally accepted tectonic scenario for the Southern Alps. The modeling incorporates heat flow, evolving topography, and the detailed kinetics of different thermochronometric systems and explains both complex local variations and regional patterns. Inclusion of the effects of radiation damage on He diffusion in detrital apatite is shown to have dramatic effects on results. Geometric and velocity parameters are tuned to fit model ages to observed data. Best fit is achieved at 9 mm a−1 plate convergence, with Pacific plate delamination on a gentle 10°SE dipping detachment and more rapid uplift on a 45–60° dipping Alpine Fault ramp from 15 km depth. Thermokinematic modeling suggests dip-slip motion on reverse faults within the Southern Alps should be highest ∼22 km from the Alpine Fault and much lower toward the southeast.
American Geophysical Union
Copyright 2009 by the American Geophysical Union.