Seismic stratigraphy and structure of the Northland Plateau and the development of the Vening Meinesz transform margin, SW Pacific Ocean
Herzer, RH and Davy, BW and Mortimer, N and Quilty, PG and Chaproniere, GCH and Jones, CM and Crawford, AJ and Hollis, CJ, Seismic stratigraphy and structure of the Northland Plateau and the development of the Vening Meinesz transform margin, SW Pacific Ocean, Marine Geophysical Researches: An International Journal for The Study of The Earth Beneath The Sea, 30, (1) pp. 21-60. ISSN 0025-3235 (2009) [Refereed Article]
The Northland Plateau and the Vening Meinesz "Fracture" Zone (VMFZ), separating southwest Pacific backarc basins from New Zealand Mesozoic crust, are investigated with new data. The 12-16 km thick Plateau comprises a volcanic outer plateau and an inner plateau sedimentary basin. The outer plateau has a positive magnetic anomaly like that of the Three Kings Ridge. A rift margin was found between the Three Kings Ridge and the South Fiji Basin. Beneath the inner plateau basin, is a thin body interpreted as allochthon and parautochthon, which probably includes basalt. The basin appears to have been created by Early Miocene mainly transtensive faulting, which closely followed obduction of the allochthon and was coeval with arc volcanism. VMFZ faulting was eventually concentrated along the edge of the continental shelf and upper slope. Consequently arc volcanoes in a chain dividing the inner and outer plateau are undeformed whereas volcanoes, in various stages of burial, within the basin and along the base of the upper slope are generally faulted. Deformed and flat-lying Lower Miocene volcanogenic sedimentary rocks are intimately associated with the volcanoes and the top of the allochthon; Middle Miocene to Recent units are, respectively, mildly deformed to flat-lying, calcareous and turbiditic. Many parts of the inner plateau basin were at or above sea level in the Early Miocene, apparently as isolated highs that later subsided differentially to 500-2,000 m below sea level. A mild, Middle Miocene compressive phase might correlate with events of the Reinga and Wanganella ridges to the west. Our results agree with both arc collision and arc unzipping regional kinematic models. We present a continental margin model that begins at the end of the obduction phase. Eastward rifting of the Norfolk Basin, orthogonal to the strike of the Norfolk and Three Kings ridges, caused the Northland Plateau to tear obliquely from the Reinga Ridge portion of the margin, initiating the inner plateau basin and the Cavalli core complex. Subsequent N115A degrees extension and spreading parallel with the Cook Fracture Zone completed the southeastward translation of the Three Kings Ridge and Northland Plateau and further opened the inner plateau basin, leaving a complex dextral transform volcanic margin.