Kamp, P.J.J., Vonk, A.J., Nelson, C.S., Hansen, R.J., Tripathi, A., Hood, S.D., Ngatai, M. & Hendy, A.J.W. (2004). Constraints on the evolution of Taranaki Fault from thermochronology and basin analysis: Implications for the Taranaki Fault play. In Proceedings of New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2004, 7 – 10 March, Crown Minerals, Ministry of Economic Development, Wellington.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/3613
Taranaki Fault is the major structure defining the eastern margin of Taranaki Basin and marks the juxtaposition of basement with the Late Cretaceous-Paleogene succession in the basin. Although the timing of the basement over-thrusting on Taranaki Fault and subsequent marine onlap on to the basement block are well constrained as having occurred during the Early Miocene, the age of formation of this major structure, its character, displacement history and associated regional vertical movement during the Late Cretaceous- Recent are otherwise poorly known. Here we have applied (i) apatite fission track thermochronology to Mesozoic basement encountered in exploration holes and in outcrop to constrain the amount and timing of Late Cretaceous-Eocene exhumation of the eastern side of the fault, (ii) basin analysis of the Oligocene and Miocene succession east of the fault to establish the late-Early Miocene - Early Pliocene subsidence history, and (iii), regional porosity-bulk density trends in Neogene mudstone to establish the late uplift and tilting of eastern Taranaki Basin margin, which may have been associated with the main period of charge of the underlying Taranaki Fault play. We make the following conclusions that may be useful in assessing the viability of the Taranaki Fault play. (1) Mid-Cretaceous Taniwha Formation, intersected in Te Ranga-1 was formerly extensive across the western half of the Kawhia Syncline between Port Waikato and Awakino. (2) Taranaki Fault first formed as a normalfault during the Late Cretaceous around 85±10 Ma, and formed the eastern boundary of the Taranaki Rift-Transform basin. (3) Manganui Fault, located onshore north of Awakino, formed as a steeply east dipping reverse fault and accommodated about four km of displacement during the mid-Cretaceous. (4) Uplift and erosion, involving inversion of Early Oligocene deposits, occurred along the Herangi High during the Late Oligocene. This may have been associated with initial reverse movement on Taranaki Fault. (5) During the Early Miocene (Otaian Stage) the Taranaki and Manganui Faults accommodated the westward transport of Murihiku basement into the eastern margin of Taranaki Basin, but the amount of topography generated over the Herangi High can only have been a few hundred metres in elevation. (6) The Altonian (19-16 Ma) marked the start of the collapse of the eastern margin of Taranaki Basin that lead during the Middle Miocene to the eastward retrogradation of the continental margin wedge into the King Country region. During the Late Miocene, from about 11 Ma, a thick shelf-slope continental margin wedge prograded northward into the King Country region and infilled it (Mt Messenger, Urenui, Kiore and Matemateaonga Formations). (7) During the Pliocene and Pleistocene the whole of central New Zealand, including the eastern margin of Taranaki Basin, became involved in long wavelength up-doming with 1-2 km erosion of much of the Neogene succession in the King Country region. This regionally elevated the Taranaki Fault play into which hydrocarbons may have migrated from the Northern Graben region.
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This article has been published in Proceedings of New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2004, 7 – 10 March. © 2004 Kamp, P.J.J., Vonk, A.J., Nelson, C.S., Hansen, R.J., Tripathi, A., Hood, S.D., Ngatai, M. & Hendy, A.J.W.