Taranaki Basin, New Zealand
Outcrops along the north Taranaki coast, North Island, New Zealand provide an opportunity to examine a variety of deep-water deposits. The lateral continuity of the exposures and slight tilting of the strata provide a nearly continuous sequence of many kilometers of vertical stratigraphy exposed along tens of kilometers of coast. Outcrops include the volcaniclastic Mohakatino Formation, the sandstone Mount Messenger Formation, and the siltstone-dominated slope deposits and sandstone and conglomerate filled slope channels of the Urenui and Kiore formations. The Mount Messenger Formation records both confined and unconfined deposition on one or more submarine fans. Generations of 2D and 3D, onshore and offshore, seismic-reflection data in intervals equivalent to the coastal outcrop section are available through collaboration with GNS Science (Lower Hutt, New Zealand).
Katherine Maier is completing a project on the Urenui and Kiore formations based on coastal outcrops and seismic-reflection data. Her research also includes dating of volcanic ash beds throughout the coastal sequence.
Larisa Masalimova is currently working in the Lower Mount Messenger Formation, and Jonathan Rotzien is in the Upper Mount Messenger. Both of these Mount Messenger Formation projects are focused on using an analysis of bed-scale sedimentation units and the implied flow properties, their stacking to form lithofacies, and the cyclic arrangement of lithofacies to upscale to the large-scale depositional architecture and evolution of the deep-water system.
Glenn Sharman has started research on spectacular coastal outcrops of large mass transport deposits in the Mohakatino Formation. His research will focus on the sedimentological and deformational characteristics of sand-rich slumps.
Image: Coastal outcrop of the upper-slope Waiau Channel, part of the upper Miocene Kiore Formation, Taranaki Basin, North Island, New Zealand.