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The Late Miocene Southern and Central Taranaki Inversion Phase (SCTIP) and related sequence stratigraphy and paleogeography

We present a new sequence stratigraphic scheme for Taranaki Basin that identifies four 3rd order duration (3 - 4 m.y.) sequences of Middle Miocene to Pleistocene age. These include: (i) the late-Middle Miocene (upper Lillburnian to uppermost Waiauan) Otunui Sequence; (ii) the Late Miocene (lower and lowermost-upper Tongaporutuan) Mt Messenger Sequence; (iii) the latest Miocene (uppermost-upper Tongaporutuan) to Early Pliocene (lower Opoitian) Matemateaonga Sequence, and (iv), the Late Pliocene (upper Opoitian) to Late Pleistocene (Castlecliffian) Rangitikei Sequence, which includes the Giant Foresets Formation offshore in northern Taranaki Basin. Full sequence development can be observed in the parts of these four sequences exposed on land in eastern Taranaki Basin and in Wanganui Basin, including the sequence boundaries and component systems tracts; the character of the various depositional systems and their linkage to correlatives in subsurface parts of Taranaki Basin can be reasonably inferred, although we do not develop the detail here. Our sequence framework, with its independent age control, is integrated with established evidence for the timing of Late Miocene structure development in southern Taranaki (the Southern Inversion Zone of King & Thrasher (1996)) and new evidence presented here for the extent of Late Miocene unconformity development in central Taranaki. This shows that the Mt Messenger Sequence, particularly its regressive systems tract, results from a major phase of tectonism in the plate boundary zone, the crustal shortening then extending into the basin at c. 8.5 Ma and differentially exhuming parts of the sequence and underlying units in southern and central Taranaki Basin. This Southern and Central Taranaki Inversion Phase (SCTIP) peaked at around 7.5 Ma (mid-upper Tongaporutuan). At that time it extended across the whole of the area presently covered by Wanganui Basin, all of southern Taranaki Basin (Southern Inversion Zone), west to the Whitiki and Kahurangi Faults, and across southern parts of Taranaki Peninsula. We have also identified in outcrop sections, wireline logs for Peninsula exploration holes, and selected seismic reflection profiles, the occurrence of forced regressive deposits of the Mt Messenger Sequence. These deposits are mainly preserved beneath distal parts of the unconformity and basinward of it in central Taranaki Peninsula and west to the Tui Field, and need to be distinguished from the much younger Giant Forests Formation within the 3rd-order Rangitikei Sequence, which also shows clinoform development. The new sequence framework with its inferred stratal patterns also helps clarify understanding of the lithostratigraphic nomenclature for Late Miocene – Pliocene units beneath Taranaki Peninsula.
Conference Contribution
Type of thesis
Vonk, A. J. & Kamp, P. J. J. (2008). The Late Miocene Southern and Central Taranaki Inversion Phase (SCTIP) and related sequence stratigraphy and paleogeography. In Proceedings of the 2008 New Zealand Petroleum Conference, Auckland, New Zealand, 9-12 March 2008.
Ministry of Economic Development
This article has been published in Proceedings of New Zealand Petroleum Conference 2008.