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Abstract

Reconnaissance 2D seismic reflection data intended to investigate the petroleum potential of New Zealand’s marine territories have contributed many insights into the geological evolution of the large continental block that surrounds New Zealand. These include:

  • definition of a back-thrust system to the Mesozoic Gondwana subduction margin along the Northland–Reinga Basin and the transition to back-arc rifting;

  • the development of a Mesozoic back-arc rift system through the present New Caledonia and probably the Bounty troughs;

  • the Early Cretaceous cause, at least locally, of the cessation of subduction along the New Zealand sector of the Gondwana margin;

  • evidence for anticlockwise rotation of eastern New Zealand relative to the west in Late Eocene time;

  • an explanation for the development of the Alpine Fault and the South Island compressional strike-slip margin between the Pacific and Australian plates through South Island.

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