Structural and depositional controls on Plio‐Pleistocene submarine channel geometry (Taranaki Basin, New Zealand)
N.H. Mattos, T.M. Alves and A. Scully
Journal name: Basin Research
Issue: Vol 31, No 1, February 2019 pp. 136 - 154
Info: Article, PDF ( 19.44Mb )
High‐quality 3D seismic data are used to investigate the effect of the Parihaka Fault on the geometry of submarine channels in Northern Graben of the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. The Parihaka Fault comprises of four segments (S1–S4) with variable displacements. As part of the Plio‐Pleistocene Giant Foresets Formation, the older Channel Complex Systems 1 and 2 reveal a two‐stage evolution: (a) a syn‐tectonic depositional stage with channels incising the slope during early fault growth (ca. 4.5 Ma) and (b) a stage of sediment bypass (ca. 3 Ma) leading to the infill of hanging‐wall depocentres. The Channel Complex System 3 is syn‐tectonic relative to segment S3 and was formed at ca. 2.5 Ma. We show that the successive generation of new fault segments towards the north controlled the formation of depocentres in the study area. This occurred in association to rotation and uplift of the footwall block of the Parihaka Fault and subsidence of its hanging‐wall block, with fault activity controlling the orientation of channel systems. As a result, we observe three drainage types in the study area: oblique, transverse and parallel to the Parihaka Fault. This work is important as it shows that relay zones separating the Parihaka Fault segments had limited influence on the geometry and location of channel systems. Submarine channels were diverted from their original courses close to the Parihaka Fault and flowed transversally to fault segments instead of running through relay ramps, contrasting to what is often recorded in the literature. A plausible explanation for such a discrepancy relates to rapid progradation of the Giant Foresets Formation during the Plio‐Pleistocene, with channel complexes becoming less confined, favouring footwall incision and basinward deposition of submarine fans.