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Provenance history of a Late Triassic-Jurassic Gondwana margin forearc basin, Murihiku Terrane, North Island, New Zealand: petrographic and geochemical constraints

The Murihiku Terrane in the North Island was a forearc basin adjacent to a volcanic arc along the eastern margin of Gondwana during the Mesozoic. The rocks that infill the basin are mainly volcaniclastic sandstones and mudstones, often turbiditic, with sparse shellbeds, rhyolitic tuffs, carbonaceous sandstones, plant beds, concretionary horizons, and rare thick granitoid-rich conglomerates. Petrographic studies of the rock fragments in the sandstones show that andesites are the dominant lithic type, but there is a wide range of other lithologies, including dacites, rhyolites, ignimbrites, granitoids, quartzofeldspathic mica schists, rare amphibolites, and reworked mudstones and sandstones. The sandstones are texturally and mineralogically immature and suggest deposition relatively close to a source of high relief, undergoing physical rather than chemical weathering in cool- to cold-temperate conditions. Geochemical analyses of 67 whole-rock volcaniclastic sandstones and siltstones indicate that they were derived from an active and dissected volcanic arc in a convergent margin setting built upon relatively thin continental crust. Modal petrographic data and whole-rock geochemistry both confirm that there were systematic variations with time in the composition of clastic material being supplied to the basin. From the Late Triassic to Middle Jurassic, there was a decrease in silicic volcanic material, plutonics, and metamorphics, and an increase in the supply of andesitic detritus. This was followed in the Late Jurassic by a broader range of volcanic detritus, varying from basaltic andesite to rhyolite, which may have been caused by progressive extension of the volcanic arc and thinning of the crust, a precursor to the breakup of Gondwana in the Early-Middle Cretaceous. Comparison with the Southland segment of the Murihiku Terrane in the South Island suggests that there were significant along-arc source variations, with relatively less silicic but greater andesitic and continental crust contributions in the North Island than in Southland. This may be analogous to the modern Taupo-Kermadec arc where there is a south-north along-arc transition from a continental to an oceanic arc.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Briggs, R. M., Middleton, M. P., & Nelson, C. S. (2004). Provenance history of a Late TriassicJurassic Gondwana margin forearc basin, Murihiku Terrane, North Island, New Zealand: petrographic and geochemical constraints. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics. 47(4), 589-602.
The Royal Society of New Zealand
The final, definitive version of this article has been published in the Journal, New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics, 47(4), (2004), (c) Royal Society of New Zealand at the Royal Society of New Zealand Journals Online webpages.