Holocene vegetation and volcanic activity, Auckland Isthmus, New Zealand

A 12 000 to 4000 yr BP pollen and tephra-bearing profile from Auckland, New Zealand, provides insights into the vegetation history and evidence for early Holocene volcanic activity in this area centred on the Mount Wellington basaltic volcano. Possibly 500 yr separated initial scoriaceous ash deposition (ca. 9500 yr ago) and subsequent major lava flows (ca. 9000 yr ago) from Mount Wellington. The local vegelation, topography, and drainage patterns were substantially modified during this time, and damming by the lava flows resulted in the formation of Lake Waiatarua in a shallow valley head ca. 9000 yr ago. Diatom evidence indicates that this lake was initially deep (> 5 m) but was shallowing around 4000 yr ago. In contrast to the Mount Wellington eruptions, tephra deposition resulting from distant rhyolitic volcanic activity of the central North Island and Mayor Island has had little effect on the Auckland vegetation during this time interval (12 000–4000 yr ago). Between ca. 12 000 and 10 000 yr ago, conifer-angiosperm forest was the predominant vegetation cover on Auckland Isthmus, but during the early Holocene, forest dominated by Metrosideros expanded, probably on to fresh volcanic surfaces resulting from the Mount Wellington eruptions. At this time, swamp forest communities developed in Waiatarua valley basin, and included species indicative of moist, mild, relatively frost-free climates. Some taxa show histories consistent with other records from the northern New Zealand region, including the rise of Ascarina lucida ca. 11 000 to 9000 yr ago, and its subsequent decline, and the expansion of Agathis australis (kauri) forest communities from ca. 6000 yr ago. Taken together the history of local and regional vegetation points to a mild, moist and weakly seasonal early Holocene climate, which subsequently became drier with greater seasonal temperature extremes.
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Newnham, R.M. & Lowe, D.J. (1991). Holocene vegetation and volcanic activity, Auckland Isthmus, New Zealand. Journal of Quaternary Science, 6(3), 177-193.
Wiley: 12 months
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