Abstract

The oldest rocks in New Zealand are the Mid- to Late Cambrian intra-oceanic island arc rocks of the Takaka terrane (Devil River arc). The provenance of Cambrian conglomerates stratigraphically above the exposed arc succession was studied to constrain the late stages of arc evolution and its accretion to continental crust. The Dead Goat Conglomerate contains two distinct groups of igneous clasts: (1) intermediate to felsic volcanic clasts with moderately enriched light rare earth element (LREE) and high field strength element (HFSE) contents and positive ϵNd500 (+2.1) that were derived from a medium-K calc-alkaline source, probably the main sequence of the Devil River arc; (2) dioritic to metagranitic plutonic clasts strongly enriched in LREE and HFSE and with ϵNd500 of +3.5 to +5.9 that were derived from a high-K arc source, probably the uppermost units of the Devil River arc. This is consistent with a new U–Pb sensitive high-resolution ion microprobe age of 496 ± 6 Ma. The Lockett Conglomerate also contains two distinct groups of igneous clasts: (1) ultramafic to intermediate igneous clasts identified as boninitic to transitional low-K calc-alkaline arc-related rocks based on depleted REE and HFSE abundances; (2) ‘I’-type metagranitoid clasts derived from a distinct Andean type continental margin, as indicated by ϵNd500 as low as −7.1. Both conglomerates contain sandstone clasts derived from a common old, multi-cycle continental source with ϵNd500 of −14.2 to −15.7, and no suitable source has been found in present-day New Zealand. The new provenance data from these conglomerates constrain the time of accretion of the Devil River arc to the palaeo-Pacific Gondwana margin and provide new information on the structural evolution of the accretionary event.

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