Quaternary geology of the DFDP-2 drill holes, Alpine Fault, New Zealand

Monday, 14 December 2015: 08:15
306 (Moscone South)
Simon Cox1, Jamie D Howarth1, Phaedra Upton1, Rupert Sutherland1, Robert Langridge2, Nicolas C Barth3, Cliff Atkins4 and DFDP-2 Science Team, (1)GNS Science-Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Ltd, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, (2)GNS Science, Lower Hutt, New Zealand, (3)University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA, United States, (4)Victoria University of Wellington, School of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences, Wellington, New Zealand
A 240 m-thick Quaternary sediment sequence in Whataroa Valley was much thicker than predicted before drilling. DFDP-2A and DFDP-2B were mostly drilled through the sequence by dual-rotary method using air or water circulation, returning cuttings bagged at 1 or 2 m sample intervals. Some sorting/bias and contamination occurred. Core was retrieved in DFDP-2A from 125-160 m, with highly variable recovery (0-100%) and mixed preservation/quality. The sequence is interpreted to comprise: fluvial-glacial gravels (0-58 m); grading downward into sandy lake delta sediments (59-77 m); overlying a monotonous sequence of lake mud and silts, with rare pebble-cobble diamictite (77-206 m); with a basal unit (206-240 m) containing coarse cobbles and boulders that may represent a distinct till/diamictite. Evidence has yet to be found for any marine influence in lowermost sediments, despite deposition at least 120 m below present day sea level, and potentially 200 m bsl if uplift has occurred on the Alpine Fault. When corrected for uplift the lacustrine sequence broadly correlates to those in present Lakes Rotokina and Wahapo, suggesting a substantial (~100 km2) pro-glacial lake once covered the area. Radiocarbon dating of plant fragments indicate 70 m of upper lacustrine and deltaic sediments (129-59 m) were deposited rapidly between 16350-15800 Cal BP. Overlying alluvial gravels are much younger (<1 ka), but potentially also involved pulses of rapid aggradation. The sequence provides a record of sedimentation on the Alpine Fault hanging wall following late-glacial ice retreat up Whataroa Valley, with uplift and erosion followed by Holocene alluvial gravel deposition. Future work will address: (1) the nature and history of sedimentation, including the lithology and origin of sediments; (2) what, if any, geological record of tectonics (movement) or Alpine Fault earthquakes (shaking) the sediments contain.