The evolution of Maroa Volcanic Centre, Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand
Degree GrantorUniversity of Canterbury
Degree NameDoctor of Philosophy
Maroa Volcanic Centre (Maroa) is located within the older Whakamaru caldera, central Taupo Volcanic Zone, New Zealand. Dome lavas make up the majority of Maroa volume, with the large Maroa West and East Complexes (MWC and MEC, respectively) erupted mostly over a short 29 kyr period starting at 251 ± 17 ka. The five mappable Maroa pyroclastics deposits are discussed in detail. The Korotai (283 ± 11 ka), Atiamuri (229 ±12 ka), and Pukeahua (~229 -196 ka) pyroclastics are all s 1 km3 and erupted from (a) northern Maroa, (b) a vent below Mandarin Dome and (c) Pukeahua Dome Complex vents, respectively. The Putauaki (272 ± 10 ka) and Orakonui (256 ± 12 ka) pyroclastics total ~ 4 km3 from a petrologically and geographically very similar central Maroa source. The ~ 220 ka Mokai pyroclastics outcrop partly within Maroa but their source remains unclear, whereas the ~ 240 ka Ohakuri pyroclastics appear to have come from a caldera just north of Maroa. The ages of the Mamaku, Ohakuri and Mokai pyroclastics are equivocaL The Mamaku and Ohakuri pyroclastics appear to be older (~ 240 ka) than the age previously accepted for the Mamaku pyroclastics. Maroa lavas are all plagioclase-orthopyroxene bearing, commonly with lesser quartz. Hornblende +/- biotite are sometimes present and their presence is correlated with geochemical variation. All Maroa deposits are rhyolites (apart from two high-silica dacite analyses) and are peraluminous and calcic. They all have the trace element signatures of arc-related rocks typical of TVZ deposits. Maroa deposits fall geochemically into three magma types based on Rb and Sr content: M (Rb 80-123 ppm, Sr 65-88 ppm), T (Rb 80-113 ppm, Sr 100-175 ppm) and N (Rb 120-150 ppm, Sr 35- 100 ppm). The geochemical distinction of these types is also seen in the concentrations of most other elements. Based on the spatial, chronological and petrological similarities of the MWC/MEC and Pukeahua eastern magma associations (termed (1) and (2)) a further four magma associations are determined ((3) through (6)). These six associations account for almost all Maroa deposits. Two end-member models are proposed for the sources of each of the Maroa magma associations: (a) a single relatively shallow magma source feeding spatially clustered eruptions, and (b) a deeper source feeding multiple shallower offshoots over a wider area. Sources for the Maroa magma associations probably lie on a continuum between these two model end members. The distinction between Maroa and Taupo Volcanic Centres is somewhat arbitrary and is best considered to be the easting directly north of Ben Lomond, north of which most volcanism is older than 100 ka and M and N type, and south of which most volcanism is younger than 100 ka and T type. The remaining boundaries (north to include Ngautuku, west to include Mokauteure and east to include Whakapapa domes) are arbitrary, and include the farthest domes linked closely, spatially and magmatic ally, to the other Maroa domes. From 230 to 64 ka there was a hiatus in caldera-forming ignimbrite eruptions. Maroa and the Western Dome Belt (WDB) constitute the largest concentrated volume of eruptions (as relatively gentle lava extrusion) during this period. The rate of Maroa volcanism has decreased exponentially from a maximum prior to 200 ka. In contrast volcanism at Taupo and Okataina has increased from ~ 64 ka to present. The oldest Maroa dome (305 ± 17 ka) constrains the maximum rate of infilling of Whakamaru caldera as 39-17 km3/kyr. This highlights the extraordinarily fast rate of infilling common at silicic calderas and is in agreement with international case studies, except where post-collapse structural resurgence has continued for more than 100 kyr. The majority of caldera fill, representing voluminous eruption deposits in the first tens of thousands of years post collapse, is buried and only accessible via drilling. The WDB and Maroa are petrologically distinct from one another in terms of some or all of Rb, Sr, Ba and Zr content, despite eruption over a similar period. Magma sources for Maroa and the WDB may have been partly or wholly derived from the Whakamaru caldera magma system(s), but petrological distinctions among all three mean that Maroa and the WDB cannot be considered as simple magmatic resurgence of the Whakamaru caldera. Maroa's distinct Thorpe Rd Fault is in fact a fossil feature which hasn't been active in almost 200 kyr. In addition, the graben across Tuahu Dome was likely created by shallow blind diking. Several recent studies across TVZ show structural features with some associated dike intrusion/eruption. Such volcano tectonic interaction is rarely highlighted in TVZ but may be relatively common and lie on a continuum between dike-induced faulting and dikes following structural features. Although rates of volcanism are now low in Maroa magmatic intrusion appears to remain high. This raises the possibility of a causative link between faulting and volcanism in contrast to traditional views of volcanism controlled by rates of magmatic ascent. Probable future eruptions from Maroa are likely to be of similar scale (<0.1 km3 ) and frequency (every ~ 14,000 years) to most of those over the last 100 ka. Several towns lie in a range of zones of Maroa volcanic hazard from total destruction to possible ash fall. However, the probability of a future eruption is only ~ 0.6 % in an 80 year lifetime.