Evolution of the Giant Foresets Formation, northern Taranaki Basin, New Zealand
Hansen, R.J.; Kamp, P.J.J.
Geological Society of New Zealand Miscellaneous Publication 108A: 419-435
Plio-Pleistocene aggradation and progradation has resulted in the rapid outbuilding of the continental shelf margin, northern Taranaki Basin. Seismic reflection profiles reveal that this outbuilding is characterised by bold clinoforms which offlap in a basinward direction. This stacked succession of clinoforms, collectively termed the Giant Forests Formation, obtains thicknesses of over 2 km in places, and has had a significant effect on the thermal regime of the region. This integrated study was initiated to document the Late Neogene evolution of this formation, and thereby gain insights on sedimentary distribution patterns, timing of sedimentation, and controls on progradation and aggradation. Latest Miocene extension in the northern Taranaki Basin, related to rotation of the Hikurangi subduction zone, greatly influenced sedimentation patterns in the Pliocene. Palinspastic reconstruction shows that initial extension of the Northern Graben occurred before Giant Foresets Formation sedimentation began. Sediment, sourced from erosion to the east, was preferentially funneled into the newly created Northern Graben during the late Miocene and Early Pliocene, while areas to the north and west underwent a period of sediment starvation. During the late Pliocene, and into the Pleistocene, sediment accumulation outpaced graben extension, and by the end of the Mangapanian, the graben was overtopped. During this period, the progradational front associated with the outbuilding of the continental shelf-slope margin advanced northwards. Throughout the Nukumaruan, continuing to the present day, shelf migration was extremely rapid. While at least seven cyclical sea-level changes, with an approximate periodicity of 400 ka (fourth-order) have been identified, overall, depths shallowed from dominantly bathyal, to dominantly shelfal.