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The mid-Cenozoic Challenger rift system of western New Zealand and its implications for the age of Alpine Fault inception

Peter J. J. Kamp
The mid-Cenozoic Challenger rift system of western New Zealand and its implications for the age of Alpine Fault inception
Geological Society of America Bulletin (March 1986) 97 (3): 255-281

Abstract

Analysis of the structure and sedimentary geology of western New Zealand has identified a middle Eocene to early Miocene continental rift system, 1, 200 km long and 100-200 km wide, named here the "Challenger Rift System". Four phases of rift development occurred: (1) infra-rift subsidence, (2) active axial trough subsidence, (3) expanded rift subsidence involving collapse of the rift shoulders, and (4) incipient sea-floor spreading. The spatial and temporal distribution of these phases identifies a North Island and a South Island rift segment and shows that rifting propagated toward the center of the rift from both ends. The northern segment shows a simple pattern of rifting that is comparable with Vink's model of rift propagation; the southern segment, with locked zones and rift nucleation segments, is comparable to Courtillot's model of rift propagation. The sea-floor-spreading history of the southwest Pacific shows that the northern rift segment probably linked with a sea-floor-spreading center in the Norfolk Basin, and the southern segment linked with the Southeast Indian Ridge. This is corroborated by the good correlation between the ages of sea-floor magnetic anomaly lineations that are aligned with the rift and the biostratigraphic ages of rifting. The probable continuity of the rift system in its early development precludes pre-Miocene transcurrent displacement on the Alpine fault; an early Miocene (23 m.y. B.P.) age of Alpine fault inception is indicated by the age and pattern of rift disruption attributed to compression that originated at the Australia - Pacific plate boundary. The modern Australia and Pacific plates were not discrete entities, therefore, until the early Miocene.


ISSN: 0016-7606
EISSN: 1943-2674
Coden: BUGMAF
Serial Title: Geological Society of America Bulletin
Serial Volume: 97
Serial Issue: 3
Title: The mid-Cenozoic Challenger rift system of western New Zealand and its implications for the age of Alpine Fault inception
Author(s): Kamp, Peter J. J.
Affiliation: Univ. Waikato, Dep. Earth Sci., Hamilton, New Zealand
Pages: 255-281
Published: 198603
Text Language: English
Publisher: Geological Society of America (GSA), Boulder, CO, United States
References: 110
Accession Number: 1986-022134
Categories: Solid-earth geophysics
Document Type: Serial
Bibliographic Level: Analytic
Illustration Description: illus. incl. sects., block diags. geol. sketch maps
S47°30'00" - S34°30'00", E166°30'00" - E178°30'00"
S60°00'00" - S33°00'00", E78°30'00" - E156°00'00"
Country of Publication: United States
Secondary Affiliation: GeoRef, Copyright 2018, American Geosciences Institute. Reference includes data supplied by Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited (GNS Science), Lower Hutt, New Zealand
Update Code: 1986
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