Submarine fan sedimentation at a convergent margin: the cretaceous mangapokia formation, New Zealand

  • Barnes P
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Abstract

The middle Cretaceous Mangapokia Formation (Pahaoa Group) near Te Awaiti, southeast North Island, New Zealand, consists of indurated, poorly fossiliferous, alternating sandstone and argillite, minor conglomerate, grit, pebbly-sandstone, and pebbly-mudstone (terrigenous sedimentary assemblage), and minor basalt, coloured argillite, chert, and micritic limestone (ocean-floor assemblage). Seven lithofacies are distinguished in the sedimentary assemblage on the basis of lithology, bed thickness and geometry, sand/mud ratio, grain size and internal sedimentary features. Facies 1 (10-15% of total exposure), which includes all sediments coarser than sand grade, comprises seven subfacies as follows: lenticular and erosive beds of coarse-grained (Subfacies 1Ai), medium-grained (Subfacies 1Aii) and fine-grained (Subfacies 1Aiii) predominantly clast-supported conglomerate, grit (Subfacies 1Aiv) and pebbly-sandstone (Subfacies 1Av) displaying numerous types of graded bedding and sedimentary structures, were all deposited predominantly from high-concentration turbidity currents or bed-load inertia flows. Minor chaotic sand or mud matrix-supported conglomerate lenses (Subfacies 1Bi), and beds which show clear evidence of post-depositional remobilisation (Subfacies 1Bii), represent debris flow deposits. Thick lenses of sandstone and minor argillite interbeds (Facies 2) were deposited from large-volume inertia flows, possibly grainflows. Facies 3, the most common lithofacies, consists of laterally more extensive, medium thickness, graded beds of alternating sandstone and argillite with rare Bouma sequences. These deposits are proximal turbidites which accumulated in environments more distal than Facies 1 and 2. Thin-bedded (Facies 4) and very thin-bedded (Facies 5) alternating sandstone and argillite, and argillite-dominated sequences with minor interbedded sandstone (Facies 6) were deposited in interchannel depressions, on channel levees, or in areas distant from high-concentration flows. Rare discontinuous graded bedded sandstones containing common flame structures (Facies 7) interbedded with conglomerate facies represent within-channel turbidites. A lower inner-submarine fan channel-overbank assemblage (Facies Association A), an inner-middle submarine fan channel-lobe assemblage (Facies Association B), and a mid-fan assemblage (Facies Association C) are distinguished. Two large-scale progradational suites of facies reflecting large-scale migration of the inner-fan channel complex are superimposed upon numerous small-scale depositional cycles resulting from lateral migration of numerous braided channels within the inner and mid-fan environments. The volumetrically minor ocean-floor assemblage is restricted to zones of melange. Chemically the basalts are tholeiitic, with trace element concentrations similar to modern ocean-floor basalts. Radiolarian-bearing cherts and coloured argillites are highly oxidised, and chemically similar to some modern oceanic pelagic sediments. The juxtaposition of relatively coherent, strongly folded and tectonically imbricated trench-fill submarine fan sediments and minor ocean-floor material is consistent with contemporaneous sedimentation and accretion at the base of the i inner trench slope in a convergent plate setting. The Mangapokia Formation is interpreted to represent the youngest part of the Torlesse terrane, and hence in southern North Island, Torlesse deposition and concurrent subduction tectonism were probably continuous at least until the middle Cretaceous. © 1988.

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Authors

  • Philip M. Barnes

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