Published:June 16, 2020
The SW Pacific region consists of a succession of ridges and basins that were created by the fragmentation of Gondwana and the evolution of subduction zones since Mesozoic times. This complex geodynamic evolution shaped the geology of New Caledonia, which lies in the northern part of the Zealandia continent. Alternative tectonic models have been postulated. Most models agree that New Caledonia was situated on an active plate margin of eastern Gondwana during the Mesozoic. Extension affected the region from the Late Cretaceous to the Paleocene and models for this period vary in the location and nature of the plate boundary between the Pacific and Australian plates. Eocene regional tectonic contraction included the obduction of a mantle-derived Peridotite Nappe in New Caledonia. In one class of model, this contractional phase was controlled by an east-dipping subduction zone into which the Norfolk Ridge jammed, whereas and in a second class of model this phase corresponds to the initiation of the west-dipping Tonga–Kermadec subduction zone. Neogene tectonics of the region near New Caledonia was dominated by the eastwards retreat of Tonga–Kermadec subduction, leading to the opening of a back-arc basin east of New Caledonia, and the initiation and southwestwards advance of the New Hebrides–Vanuatu subduction zone towards New Caledonia.
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New Caledonia: Geology, Geodynamic Evolution and Mineral Resources
CONTAINS OPEN ACCESS
This memoir summarizes current knowledge on the geology of New Caledonia, its geodynamic evolution and mineral resources, based on published and unpublished information. It comprises ten research papers, each addressing a particular geological assemblage or topic. After an introductory chapter and a review of the published geodynamic models of evolution of the SW Pacific, Chapters 3-5 focus on the main geological assemblages of Grande Terre: the pre-Late Cretaceous basement terranes, the Late Cretaceous to Eocene cover, and the Eocene Subduction-Obduction Complex, one of the largest and best-preserved in the world. Chapter 6 is devoted to the Loyalty Islands and Ridge. Chapter 7 deals with the mostly terrestrial post-obduction units, including regolith. Chapter 8 deals with palaeobiogeography and discusses plausible scenarios of biotic evolution. Chapters 9 and 10 provide a comprehensive review of New Caledonia's mineral resources. The volume will be of interest to stratigraphers, sedimentologists, marine geologists, palaeontologists, palaeogeographers, igneous and metamorphic petrologists, geochemists, geochronologists, and specialists in tectonics, geodynamic evolution, regoliths, ophiolites and economic geology.