Ages on weathered Plio-Pleistocene tephra sequences, western North Island, New Zealand
Lowe, D.J., Tippett, J.M., Kamp, P.J.J., Liddell, I.J., Briggs, R.M. & Horrocks, J.L. (2001). Ages on weathered Plio-Pleistocene tephra sequences, western North Island, New Zealand. Les Dossiers de l’Archeo-Logis, 1, 45-60.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3525
Using the zircon fission-track method, we have obtained five ages on members of two strongly-weathered silicic, Pliocene-Pleistocene tephra sequences, the Kauroa and Hamilton Ash formations, in western North Island, New Zealand. These are the first numerical ages to be obtained directly on these deposits. Of the Kauroa Ash sequence, member K1 (basal unit) was dated at 2.24 ± 0.29 Ma, confirming a previous age of c. 2.25 Ma obtained (via tephrochronology)from K/Ar ages on associated basalt lava. Members K2 and K3 gave indistinguishable ages between 1.68 ± 0.12 and 1.43 ± 0.17 Ma. Member K12, a correlative of Oparau Tephra and probably also Ongatiti Ignimbrite, was dated at 1.28 ± 0.11 Ma, consistent with an age of 1.23 ± 0.02 Ma obtained by various methods on Ongatiti Ignimbrite. Palaeomagnetic measurements indicated that members K13 to K15 (top unit, Waiterimu Ash) are aged between c. 1.2 Ma and 0.78 Ma. Possible sources of the Kauroa Ash Formation include younger volcanic centres in the southern Coromandel Volcanic Zone or older volcanic centres in the Taupo Volcanic Zone, or both. Of the Hamilton Ash sequence, the basal member Ohinewai Ash (HI) was dated at 0.38 ± 0.04 Ma. This age matches those obtained by various methods on Rangitawa Tephra of 0.34-0.35 Ma, supporting correlation with this Whakamaru-caldera derived deposit. The origin of the other Hamilton Ash beds is unknown but various younger volcanic centres in the Taupo Volcanic Zone are possible sources. The topmost member, Tikotiko Ash (H6-H7), is estimated to be aged between c. 0.18 and 0.08 Ma. Various silicic pyroclastic deposits documented in North Island and in marine cores may be co-eval with members of the Kauroa Ash and Hamilton Ash sequences on the basis of their age.
© Copyright 2001 David J. Lowe