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Paleomagnetic Studies of the Late Miocene Mangapoike River Section, Northern Hawke's Bay, New Zealand

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posted on 2021-11-07, 21:48 authored by Wright, Ian Craig

The Mangapoike River section (38.9 degrees S, 177.6 degrees E), on the eastern limb of the Wairoa Syncline, northern Hawke's Bay, is a thick (> 4000 m) and well exposed sequence of Waiauan to Waipipian sediments in which foraminiferal and radiolarian biostratigraphy and silicic tuff lithostratigraphy are well known. An Early Pliocene magnetostratigraphy has been determined by Kennett and Watkins (1974). The present study extends the magnetostratigraphy to the Middle -Late Miocene, and establishes a late Miocene to Early Pliocene 3000 m magnetostratigraphic reference column for New Zealand. The only identifiable remanence carrying magnetic mineral in the Mangapoike sediments is titanomagnetite. Its chemistry does not vary with grain size. Oxidation of the titanomagnetite is deuteric, and thus pre-depositional. Fluctuations of titanomagnetite concentration between 10-3 to 10-4 wt percent are the main influence on the variation of NRM intensity. Viscous magnetisations characterised by both the alignment of NRM directions in a general present day field direction and remanence decay and aquisition over laboratory time were recognised in 85 percent of the 1204 paleomagnetic specimens. Secondary magnetisations were removed by thermal demagnetisation at temperatures varying between 200 degrees C and 320 degrees C. AF demagnetisation was not effective in removing viscous magnetisations, even at peak alternating fields of 35 mT, since the coercivities of the primary and secondary magnetisations overlap completely. The random relationship between the degree of bioturbation and in-site dispersion at individual sites indicates the magnetisation is acquired after bioturbation, and thus is a post-depositional detrital magnetisation. The time lag between deposition and acquisition of the magnetisation is approximately 1000 yrs. Six normal (MN1 - MN6) and seven reversed (MR1 - MR7) polarity magnetozones are identified within the late Miocene at Mangapoike. Only one normal magnetozone (MN6) is recognised in the stratigraphic interval equivalent to that from which Kennett and Watkins (1974) reported two normal zones (C1 and C2). MN6 is correlated to C2. C1 is inferred to be an uncleaned normal overprint. The magnetozones are correlated to Chrons 11 to 4, which implies an average sedimentation rate of 64 cm/1000 yrs. The previously known Miocene - Pliocene 3 degrees angular unconformity at Mangapoike (Hornibrook 1977) represents the period from 6.3 Ma to at least 5.41 Ma. A previously unrecognised unconformity from at least 6.86 to at least 6.42 Ma is postulated, based on the preferred magnetostratigraphic interpretation. The presence of the unconformity is supported by radiolarian and benthic foraminiferal biostratigraphy. Three distinct lithological events at Mangapoike, based both on the synchroneity with deep-sea benthic delta 18O records and unconformities of the Vail-curve, are inferred to result from glacioeustatism. At Mangapoike, the Waiauan - Tongaporutuan boundary, as defined by the incoming of Bolivinita cf pohana, has a magnetostratigraphic age of 10.3 Ma. Both the LAD of Loxostomum truncatum and the FAD of Bolivinita cf pohana are less than 42,000 yrs. younger than the late Waiauan glacioeustatic event. The Waiauan - Tongaporutuan boundary is thus postulated to result from glacioeustatism. Glacioeustatism may also explain the excellent age correlation between the base of the Tongaporutuan and the base of the Tortonian stratotype. Correlation of the late Miocene and early Pliocene magnetostratigraphies and biostratigraphies of on-shore New Zealand with either of the magnetostratigraphic interpretations of DSDP Site 594 results in an unacceptably high diachroneity of some planktic taxa of 1.8 Ma over 3.6 degrees of latitude. Of four possiblities to resolve the anomaly, incorrect magnetostratigraphic correlations at Site 594 is the most likely. The previously determined age of 6.2 Ma for the LAD of Globoquadrina dehiscens in New Zealand is erroneous. A magnetostratigraphic age for the LAD of G. dehiscens at Mangapoike is 9.2 Ma. This age is not an extinction date for the taxon throughout New Zealand, and the LAD may well be erratic and diachronous within New Zealand. The Wairoa Syncline, a forearc basin within the Hikurangi margin, has a rotation rate as determined from declination directions, of 7-8 degrees /Ma for the last 5 Ma. Of this less than 1.5 degrees /Ma is due to apparent polar wander of the Australian plate. Extrapolation of this rate towards the present is consistent with a present day rotation rate of 7 degrees /Ma derived from strain analysis of geodetic data. Prior to 10 Ma the rate of tectonic rotation is poorly constrained and may vary between 3 degrees /Ma and 0 degrees /Ma. The change in the rate of rotation of the Wairoa Syncline around 5 Ma is probably related to a marked change in regional tectonic regime involving opening and spreading to the north of New Zealand and compression and shortening to the south.


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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Te Herenga Waka—Victoria University of Wellington

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Doctor of Philosophy

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Awarded Doctoral Thesis



Victoria University of Wellington School

School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences


Vella, P; Barrett, P; Walcott, R