Holocene-Pleistocene sand provenance in the Canterbury Basin, eastern South Island, New Zealand


Integrated Ocean Drilling Program (IODP) Expedition 317 drilled four sites (U1351, U1352, U1353, and U1354) on a shelf-to-slope transit across the Canterbury Margin located off the east coast of the South Island, New Zealand. The purpose of this study was to petrographically analyze the Holocene-Pleistocene sandy intervals to determine how sand composition within the offshore Canterbury succession reflects the influence of both south-to-north (shore-parallel) and west-to-east (shore-perpendicular) sediment transport. Sand samples were obtained from both IODP drill core and onshore settings. Thirty-eight offshore core samples (10-20 cc) of Holocene-Pleistocene age and nine onshore samples (eight from rivers and one from a beach) were collected and air-dried. Offshore samples were sieved to separate the bulk sand-size fraction (2.0-0.0625 mm) and the onshore samples were sieved to separate medium, fine, and very-fine sand fractions. A total of 63 thin sections, 38 offshore and 25 onshore, were made and stained for feldspar recognition. Four hundred points (grains) were counted for each sample using the Gazzi-Dickinson method to estimate composition. Onshore samples range from quartzo-feldspathic (South) to lithic rich (Central/Northern). Mica and metamorphic lithic fragment proportions allow for further discrimination. Northern rivers draining mainly Torlesse lithologies are dominated by lower-grade metamorphic lithic fragments. Central rivers, draining the Torlesse to schist (semi-schist) transition, contain more high-grade metamorphic lithic fragments. The southern rivers are mica rich, having been derived from coarse schist. The differences observed in onshore samples allowed for the provenance classification of offshore samples as: 1) Northern (Torlesse Group), 2) Central (Torlesse-Schist Transition Group), 3) Southern (Schist Group), or 4) Mixed. The distribution of the sand composition in the shelf and slope sites reflects a complex interaction of different factors. Compositional trends indicate a dynamic system where shore-parallel and shore-perpendicular processes alternate on the shelf, and shore– perpendicular processes dominate on the slope. Mixing processes include: shelf currents, transgressive erosion, bioturbation, and earthquake liquefaction, plus potential drilling disturbances.



TitleHolocene-Pleistocene sand provenance in the Canterbury Basin, eastern South Island, New Zealand
AuthorBender-Whitaker, Carrie
Degree DisciplineGeology
Degree LevelMaster of Science
Degree GrantorCalifornia State University, Northridge
LocalityCanterbury Basin
Map References
NZMS 261 References
K 39 and J 39 Timaru [K39]