Zircons from seventeen samples of Western Fiordland Orthogneiss (WFO) diorites and three samples of country rock (two schists and one Darran Suite diorite) from the lowermost exposed sections of the Median Batholith, Fiordland, New Zealand, were analysed for in-situ U–Pb and Hf-isotopes. The WFO represents the deeper levels of Early Cretaceous continental arc magmatism on the Pacific margin of Gondwana, marking the final stage of long-lived arc magmatism on the margin spanning the Palaeozoic. The WFO plutons were emplaced at high-P (mid to deep crust at c. 8–12 kbar) between 124 and 114 Ma. Minor very high-P (c. 18 kbar) WFO eclogite and omphacite granulite facies orthogneiss (Breaksea Orthogneiss) are inferred to have crystallised in the base of thickened crust at c. 124 Ma. Zircons from the Breaksea Orthogneiss are considered to be variably affected by Pb-loss due to emplacement of the adjacent (Malaspina) Pluton at c. 114 Ma. By identifying Pb-loss, magmatic ages were able to be inferred in respect to apparent Pb-loss ages. Hf isotope data for the WFO define an excursion to less radiogenic Hf isotope ratios with time, reflecting increased recycling of an old source component. Peaks at c. 555, 770 and 2480 Ma, determine the age spectra of inherited populations of zircons within the WFO. This contrasts with detrital zircon patterns in country rocks of the Takaka terrane, which include peaks at c. 465 Ma, and 1250–900 Ma that are absent in the WFO inheritance pattern. These results indicate a previously unrecognised Precambrian lower crustal component of New Zealand. Recycling of this lower crust became increasingly important as a source for the final stage or Mesozoic arc magmatism along this segment of the palaeo-Pacific margin of Gondwana.
- George Sound Paragneiss
- High-P granulite/eclogite facies
- Takaka terrane
- Western Fiordland Orthogneiss
- Zircon inheritance