Environmental Classical Accretionary Prism, Hikurangi Convergent Margin, New Zealand

Davey FJ,
Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 4
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The Hikurangi Margin of eastern North Island New Zealand represents the feather edge of the over-riding Indo-Australian Plate at its convergent boundary with the subducting Pacific Plate. Towards the south, convergence becomes slower and increasingly oblique, and sediment supply from the Southern Alps becomes increasingly rapid. In this environment a 150 km wide, imbricate thrust, accretionary prism has grown since the Miocene, uplifting slope ridges and basins and a range of coastal hills. Offscraping of thick, axially transported, trench-fill turbidites begins in a zone of proto- thrusts, which extends up to 25 km beyond the principle, slope-toe, deformation front. On the slope, landward tilted, trench-slope basins are separated by ridges. The ridges ride up on thrusts that sole out at a major decollement. The decollement dips landwards at 3 degrees to a depth of 14 km at the coast, where it coincides with an onshore zone of high seismicity. Beneath the decollement, about 1 km of consolidated, oceanic sediment is going under the margin with the underlying oceanic basement. Some of these sediments may underplate the frontal ranges to the west and geochemical evidence of subducted sediment is found in the volcanic zone beyond. A rapid decrease in the width of the accretionary prism to the north is associated with a decrease in sediment supply and perhaps with a dislocation in the downgoing plate. To the south, the accretionary prism narrows, swings westward, and merges into the zone of very oblique collision that marks the transform between mirror image subduction to north and south of New Zealand.
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