Furlong, K. P. & Kamp P. J. J. (2006). Neogene plate tectonic reconstructions and geodynamics of North Island sedimentary basins: Implications for the petroleum systems. In Proceedings of New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2006, 6 – 10 March.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3565
Although the modern Australia-Pacific plate boundary through New Zealand is relatively straight, there have been significant changes in its geometry during the Neogene. Within the North Island sector there has been a fundamental transition from an Alpine Fault translation/transpression regime to a Hikurangi margin subduction regime. This transition has been accompanied by the southward encroachment of the edge of the Pacific plate oceanic slab into Australia lithosphere, shortened and thickened along its eastern margin as a consequence of the prior Alpine Fault transpression, the process now operating in South Island. The response of the Australia lithosphere at the surface to the emplacement of the subducted slab at depth, has differed in the East Coast forearc region versus the foreland in western North Island, where the depth to the slab is greater and there has been a characteristic southward migration of depocentres pinned to the leading edge of the slab. The recent publication of new rotation parameters for relative motion of the Australia, Antarctic and Pacific plates, have provided key new data from which to plot the successive emplacement history of the Pacific slab beneath North Island, thus enabling the comparisons to be made with basin stratigraphy and geohistory. These data also constrain the age of subduction initiation at various points along the present trend of the Hikurangi Trough, identifying a younging of subduction initiation to the southwest. An implication of this younging direction is that the modern accretion¬ary prism south of Cape Kidnappers can be no older than late Miocene (c. 11 Ma). The focus of this paper is on new ideas about the tectonic development of North Island and its basins, which have implications for hydrocarbon exploration.
Ministry of Economic Development
This article has been published in Proceedings of New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2006, 6 – 10 March. © 2006 K. P. Furlong & P. J. J. Kamp.