Perspectives on Cretaceous Gondwana break-up from detrital zircon provenance of southern Zealandia sandstones

C. J. Adams, H. J. Campbell, N. Mortimer, W. L. Griffin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)


Detrital zircon U–Pb ages in 37 sandstones from late Early – Late Cretaceous marine and non-marine successions across southern Zealandia indicate a provenance from local basement within present-day Zealandia. Samples from Taranaki Basin were derived from Median and Karamea batholith granitoids with transport directions from west to east. Samples from West Coast, Western Southland and Great South basins contain components derived more locally and more variably from Median Batholith and Rahu Suite granitoids and/or the Palaeozoic Buller Terrane. West Coast Basin samples have more plutonic contributions and Great South Basin localities have more Albian-aged (c. 110–100 Ma) zircons. Samples from Canterbury Basin were sourced from Torlesse Composite Terrane basement. The provenance variations are present in both marine and non-marine sandstones and suggest localized watersheds. This fits an interpretation of Late Cretaceous deposition in rift-controlled basins across southern Zealandia during pre-Gondwana break-up regional extension. More speculatively, some additional source areas may have been created at the rifted margins of Zealandia during this break-up.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)661-682
Number of pages22
JournalGeological Magazine
Issue number4
Early online date13 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • Cretaceous
  • New Zealand
  • Zealandia
  • detrital zircon
  • U-Pb ages

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