The Wishbone Ridge at the Chatham Rise Intersection: Structural Characteristics and Tectonic Implications
Geophysical data show that the West Wishbone Ridge, offshore of eastern New Zealand, is best described as having previously been a crustal transform fault, which first propagated along the eastern margin of the Hikurangi Plateau as subduction along the New Zealand sector of the Gondwana margin began to slow and reorientate between 105 and 101 Ma. Variation in the strike of the West Wishbone Ridge has resulted in contrasting compressional and extensional zones along the ridge. These regimes reflect the direction of strike offset from the direction of fault propagation, and constrain the sense of motion along the West Wishbone Ridge as having been dextral. We find evidence that Cretaceous subduction along the Chatham Rise margin extended east of the margin offset at 174°W that marks the edge of Hikurangi Plateau subduction beneath the margin. Rotation of the Chatham Rise margin between 105 and 101 Ma was accommodated by westward broadening of the extensional zone of deformation associated with the West Wishbone Ridge near its intersection with the Chatham Rise. The amount of offset along the ridge indicates that significant transform motion along the West Wishbone Ridge south of ~40.5°S ceased ca. 101 Ma, coeval with the cessation of spreading of the Osbourn Trough, and of subduction of the Hikurangi Plateau. Additionally, we find anomalously thick oceanic crust adjacent to the WWR and north of the Hikurangi Plateau (>12 km thick). This is attributed to the proximity of this crust to the Hikurangi Plateau Large Igneous Province. The results of this study are based on seismic reflection and magnetic data recently collected during the 2016 R/V Sonne survey SO-246, as well as previously collected seismic reflection profiles and satellite gravity data.