Structural development of the Dun Mountain Ophiolite Belt in the Permian, Bryneira range, Western Otago, New Zealand.
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameMaster of Science
The deformed Permian Dun Mountain Ophiolite Belt (DMOB) forms the basement of the Dun Mountain-Maitai terrane and is traceable through the entire length of New Zealand. The DMOB contains a variably serpentinised mantle portion and a crustal portion containing gabbros, dolerites, cross cutting dikes and extrusives, together they are similar to oceanic crust. The initial crustal portion, however, is atypical when compared to other ophiolites, being thin and lacking a sheeted dike complex, but has well spaced inclined intrusive sheets and sills. At least four post-Permian deformation periods affect the DMOB; collision and rotation during emplacement of the DMOB on the Gondwana margin, compression during Mesozoic orogenies, extensional deformation during the Gondwana break-up and transpressive deformation related to the modern plate boundary through New Zealand. Structural work in the Northern Bryneira Range focused on well preserved outcrops to investigate crustal growth and contemporaneous deformation during the Permian. Structural evidence of Permian deformation was determined by examination of pseudostratigraphy, structures constrainable to the Permian, and the geometric relationships with the overlying Maitai sedimentary sequence. Crosscutting by intrusive phases was used to determine a chronological order of crustal growth and deformation episodes. It was concluded that all deformation was extensional and that two major phases of magmatism were separated by a period of deformation and were followed by ongoing syn-sedimentary deformation during the deposition of the Maitai Group. After removal of Mesozoic rotation, the resulting orientations of paleo-horizontal markers and diverse orientations of intrusive sheets were analysed. Two hypothesises were tested to assess the origin of inclined intrusive sheets: a) that the diverse orientations were the result of tectonic rotation coeval with the intrusion of dikes. b) that primary orientations of the sheets had been diverse. Results show that the sheets were intruded with diverse orientations, probably related to variation in the principle horizontal stress over time. Further rotation of the assemblage of sheets occurred during the last stages of magmatism and during the subsequent period of sedimentation. The last stage probably relates to large scale normal faulting during the development of the sedimentary basin. iii