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Neogene evolution of lower trench-slope basins and wedge development in the central Hikurangi subduction margin, New Zealand

Abstract : Detailed analysis of the stratigraphic architecture and deformation of lower trench-slope sedimentary basins permits the tectonic evolution of subduction margins to be constrained. This study utilises offshore seismic reflection profiles and onshore outcrop data to examine the entire lower trench-slope of the Hikurangi subduction margin in the eastern North Island, New Zealand. Our results constrain the main spatial and temporal changes of facies and sedimentary units since about 25 Ma. We demonstrate that the geometries and locations of Miocene to Quaternary sedimentary basins are controlled by tectonic activity and reflect stages of subduction wedge development. Four types of sedimentary basins have been recognized: 1) flysch basins with local olistostromes at the front of seaward propagating thrust sheets; 2) 5-10 km wide turbidite-rich trench-slope basins between uplifting structural ridges (i.e. anticlines) associated with shortening within 100 km of the subduction front at the seafloor; 3) 30-40 km wide trench-slope basins associated with an upslope increase in thrust and ridge spacing; and 4) mixed siliciclastic-carbonate shelves formed in association with margin uplift after filling of the wider (30-40 km) trench-slope basins. The lateral and vertical successions of basin geometries and sedimentary infill are consistent with the overall progressive uplift of the subduction wedge. Formation of some of the wide trench-slope basins may be accompanied by significant local subsidence and normal faulting synchronous with active shortening at the subduction front. Margin-wide normal faulting during the Middle-Late Miocene may have formed due to upslope collapse related to tectonic erosion. All of the basins studied contain major unconformities at their base and top, with basin strata deposited over about 2-8 Myr. The short life span of these lower trench-slope sedimentary basins is consistent with a succession of short paroxysmal tectonic episodes rather than continuous deformation for the duration of subduction. Stratigraphic discontinuities within basins (e.g., facies changes and reversal of paleo-currents) also record short-term tectonic events (c. 1-2 Myr) on the basin-bounding structures and attest to the episodic nature of upper-plate deformation in response to continuous subduction beneath the active margin.
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Submitted on : Thursday, May 30, 2013 - 2:49:08 PM
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Julien Bailleul, Frank Chanier, Jacky Ferrière, Cécile Robin, Andrew Nicol, et al.. Neogene evolution of lower trench-slope basins and wedge development in the central Hikurangi subduction margin, New Zealand. Tectonophysics, Elsevier, 2013, 591, pp.152-174. ⟨10.1016/j.tecto.2013.01.003⟩. ⟨insu-00828194⟩



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