Cosmogenic nuclide dating of the sediments of Bulmer Cavern: Implications for the uplift history of southern Northwest Nelson, South Island New Zealand
The landscape of Northwest Nelson shows evidence of significant tectonic activity since the inception of the Austro-Pacific plate boundary in the Eocene. Evidence of subsidence followed by rapid uplift from the Eocene to the late Miocene is preserved in the sedimentary basins of Northwest Nelson. However, the effects of erosion mean there is very little evidence of post-Miocene tectonic activity preserved in the Northwest Nelson area. This is a period of particular interest, because it coincides with the onset of rapid uplift along the Alpine Fault, which is located to the south, and the very sparse published data for this period suggest very low uplift rates compared to other areas close to the Alpine Fault. Cosmogenic nuclide burial dating of sediments preserved in Bulmer Cavern, indicate an uplift rate of 0.13mm/a from the mid-Pliocene to the start of the Pleistocene and 0.067mm/a since the start of the Pleistocene. The Pleistocene uplift rate is similar to other published uplift rates for this period from the northern parts of Northwest Nelson, suggesting that the whole of Northwest Nelson has experienced relative tectonic stability compared to other areas close to the Alpine Fault during this period. The mid-Pliocene uplift rate is possibly the first precisely constrained uplift rate in the area for this period, and suggests that there has been a progressive decrease in uplift rates from much higher rates in the late Miocene.