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Pliocene-Pleistocene marine cyclothems, Wanganui Basin, New Zealand: a lithostratigraphic framework

The Rangitikei River valley between Mangaweka and Vinegar Hill and the surrounding Ohingaiti region in eastern Wanganui Basin contains a late Pliocene to early Pleistocene (c. 2.6-1.7 Ma), c. 1100 m thick, southward-dipping (4-9deg.), marine cyclothemic succession. Twenty sedimentary cycles occur within the succession, each of which contains coarse-grained (siliciclastic sandstone and coquina) and fine-grained (siliciclastic siltstone) units. Nineteen of the cycles are assigned to the Rangitikei Group (new). Six new formations are defined within the Rangitikei Group, and their distribution in the Ohingaiti region is represented in a new geologic map. The new formations are named: Mangarere, Tikapu, Makohine, Orangipongo, Mangaonoho, and Vinegar Hill. Each formation comprises one or more cyclothems and includes a previously described and named distinctive basal horizon. Discrete sandstones, siltstones, and coquinas within formations are assigned member status and correspond to systems tracts in sequence stratigraphic nomenclature. The members provide the link between the new formational lithostratigraphy and the sequence stratigraphy of the Rangitikei Group. Base of cycle coquina members accumulated during episodes of sediment starvation associated with stratigraphic condensation on an open marine shelf during sea-level transgressions. Siltstone members accumulated in mid-shelf environments (50-100 m water depth) during sea-level highstands, whereas the overlying sandstone members are ascribed to inner shelf and shoreface environments (0-50 m water depth) and accumulated during falling eustatic sea-level conditions. Repetitive changes in water depth of 50-100 m magnitude are consistent with a glacio-eustatic origin for the cyclothems, which correspond to an interval of Earth history when successive glaciations in the Northern Hemisphere are known to have occurred. Moreover, the chronology of the Rangitikei River section indicates that Rangitikei Group cyclothems accumulated during short duration, 41 ka cycles in continental ice volume attributed to the dominance of the Milankovitch obliquity orbital parameter. The Ohingaiti region has simple postdepositional structure. The late Pliocene formations dip generally to the SSW between 4deg. and 9deg.. Discernible discordances of c. 1deg. between successively younger formations are attributed to synsedimentary tilting of the shelf concomitant with migration of the tectonic hingeline southward into the basin. The outcrop distribution of the Rangitikei Group is strongly influenced by this regional tilt and also by three major northeast-southwest oriented, high-angle reverse faults (Rauoterangi, Pakihikura, and Rangitikei Faults).
Journal Article
Type of thesis
Naish, T. & Kamp, P.J.J. (1995). Pliocene-Pleistocene marine cyclothems, Wanganui Basin, New Zealand: a lithostratigraphic framework. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics, 38(2), 223-243.
The Royal Society of New Zealand
This article has been published in New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics. © 1995 The Royal Society of New Zealand. Used with permission.