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Departments & Programs


Taranaki Basin, New Zealand

Coastal outcrop of the upper-slope Waiau Channel, part of the upper Mioce

Coastal outcrop of the upper-slope Waiau Channel, part of the upper Miocene Kiore Formation, Taranaki Basin, North Island, 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 (PhD 2012) completed a project on the Urenui and Kiore formations based on coastal outcrops and seismic-reflection data. Her research also included dating of volcanic ash beds throughout the coastal sequence.

The Lower Mount Messenger and Upper Mount Messenger Formations were studied by Larisa Masalimova (PhD 2013) and Jon Rotzien (PhD 2013), respectively. Both of these projects were focused on using analysis of bed-scale sedimentation units and the implied flow properties, their stacking to form lithofacies, and the cyclic arrangement of lithofacies to understand the large-scale depositional architecture and evolution of the deep-water system.

Glenn Sharman is completing a kinematic and stratigraphic analysis of spectacular coastal outcrops of a seismic-scale mass transport deposit in the Mohakatino Formation. His research focuses on the sedimentological and deformational characteristics of sand-rich slumps.

Lauren Shumaker is researching the undeformed strata of the Mohakatino Formation, using detailed sedimentologic analysis to understand the transition from volcaniclastic to siliciclastic deposition, and the relative timing and role of the MTD in basin sedimentation.