Provenance and geochemistry of exotic clasts in conglomerates of the Oligocene Torehina Formation, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand
Nelson, C. S., & Dix, G. R. (2003). Provenance and geochemistry of exotic clasts in conglomerates of the Oligocene Torehina Formation, Coromandel Peninsula, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 46, 539-552.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3499
Non-marine pebble to cobble conglomerates of the lower Torehina Formation (Oligocene) crop out along western Coromandel Peninsula and overlie, with strong angular discordance, continental-margin metasedimentary rocks (Manaia Hill Group) of Mesozoic (Late Jurassic to ?Early Cretaceous) age. The conglomerates contain provenance information that identifies a pre-Oligocene depositional history obscured by the unconformable juxtaposition of these Tertiary and Mesozoic strata. Most clasts in the lower Torehina Formation are visually similar to local bedrock lithologies, including metamorphosed sandstones and argillites, but are kaolinitic and contain more detrital and authigenic chert, quartz, and potash feldspar. Local derivation of these clasts seems unlikely. By comparing geochemical ratios with those defined for continental margin sandstones, and well characterised New Zealand tectonic terranes, we interpret the majority of clasts in the lower Torehina Formation to have been derived from a dissected orogen, with mixtures of felsic and volcanogenic-derived sediment. The most likely sources are the Waipapa and Torlesse Terranes. The remaining 20–30% of the clasts in the lower Torehina Formation were originally friable, are coarse grained, and appear to be lithologically exotic relative to known metamorphosed sandstones in basement terrane sources on North Island. Some clasts contain coal laminae and particles, and all contain detrital kaolinite as lithic fragments and matrix. Such characteristics imply a non-marine to marginal-marine source containing sediment derived from strongly weathered granite or granodiorite. Mechanical fragility implies a likely proximal, easily erodible source. We propose that this group of clasts was derived from an Upper Cretaceous sedimentary cover, either part of a locally developed basin fill or part of a once regionally extensive cover on North Island. Either case defines a more widely distributed Cretaceous source than found today.
The Royal Society of New Zealand
This article has been published in the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. © The Royal Society of New Zealand 2003.