Stratigraphic interpretations and infrared stimulated luminescence (IRSL) ages document the glacial history of the Middle Rakaia Gorge section of the Rakaia Valley, Canterbury, New Zealand, during the last two glacial cycles. Sheets of glaciolacustrine sediments several tens of metres in thickness can be traced at least 10 km upstream of the Rakaia Gorge. The stratigraphic package is capped by outwash gravels associated with the last glacial maximum (LGM) advances. The dominant inferred sedimentary environments in the sequence are 1) pro-glacial and paraglacial lake beds, 2) sub-aqueous ice-contact fans, 3) sub-aqueous mass flow deposits 4) supraglacial dump material and 5) outwash gravels. Syndepositional deformation, associated with glacitectonic deformation, is common. The stratigraphy records glacier margin oscillations, including six significant advances. These occurred in early MIS 6, mid-MIS 6, MIS 5b (c100-90 ka), MIS 5a/4 (c 80 ka), mid-MIS 3 (c 48 ka), and late MIS 3 (c 40ka). All the post-MIS 6 advances can be corroborated from other sites in New Zealand and the timings appear to coincide with both Southern Hemisphere insolation minima and maxima, suggesting variable combinations of climatic forcing in New Zealand glaciation. © 2010 Elsevier Ltd.
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