The Eastern Volcanic Belt of Northland, New Zealand

Organization: The Australasian Institute of Mining and Metallurgy
Pages: 1
Publication Date: Jan 1, 1987
The products of Lower Miocene calc- alkaline activity on the east coast of Northland, New Zealand are described and contrasted with coeval rocks of the northern North Island. These rocks, the Eastern Volcanic Belt (EVB), occur in four main centres aligned north-west to south east as either plutonic/hyabyssal bodies or as agglomeratic piles and dyke intrusions. Significantly the plutonic members always occur to the north-west of the volcanic members, probably indicative of differential uplift along faults (upthrown to the north) aligned perpendicular to the EVB. A full basalt-rhyolite (diorite-granodiorite/ adamellite) spectrum is represented, with a temporal progression towards the silica-rich endmembers indicated by cross-cutting field relationships. Modal mineralogy parallels this trend, consisting of two-pyroxene, hornblende, biotite, quartz/alkali feldspar modal assemblages, and with rare occurrences of olivine and garnet-bearing volcanic phases. Chemically the EVB is medium-K, calc-alkaline (with respect to AFM and total-Fe/MgO vs. Si02 indices) and quartz and hypersthene normative. The thirty two available K-Prisotope dates indicate that activity was largely confined to the Lower Miocene (24Ma-16Ma), with an apparent younging towards the south east. Initial B7Sr/e Sr ratios (0.70335- 0.70679) are indicative of a continental- arc-type setting, however it is unlikely that a straightforward tectonic reconstruction for this part, of the Pacific Margin is possible. Evidence from xenoliths, both petrologic and isotope, within EVB magmas and from regional geologic studies suggests that hypotheses pertaining to a volcanic arc sited over a subduction zone may hold little relevance in this case. The review concludes that the EVB developed from the partial melting of a geochemically evolved lower crust as indicated by xenolith evidence. This occurred in response to thickening initiated by a short-lived obductive event in the uppermost Oligocene, and controlled spatially by pre-existing basement structure. Intra-suite chemical and mineralogic variation reflects not only crustal variability, but localized differences in physico-chemical conditions best illustrated by the rare occurrences of olivine and garnet.
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