Growth, Structure and Evolution the Lyttelton Volcanic Complex, Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

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Theses / Dissertations
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Doctor of Philosophy
University of Canterbury. Geological Sciences
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Hampton, Samuel Job

The Lyttelton Volcanic Complex, north-western Banks Peninsula, New Zealand, is comprised of five overlapping volcanic cones. Two magma systems are postulated to have fed Banks Peninsula’s basaltic intraplate volcanism, with simultaneous volcanism occurring in both the north-western and south-eastern regions of Banks Peninsula, to form Lyttelton and Akaroa Volcanic Complexes respectively. The elongate form of Banks Peninsula is postulated to relate to the upward constraining of magmatism in a north-west / south-east fault bounded zone. The Lyttelton Volcanic Complex resulted from the development of a pull-apart basin, with a number of releasing bend faults, controlling the location of eruptive sites. Cone structure further influenced the pathway magma propagated, with new eruptive sites developing on the un-buttressed flanks, resulting in the eruption and formation of a new cone, or as further cone growth recorded as an eruptive package. Each cone formed through constructional or eruptive phases, termed an eruptive package. Eruptive packages commonly terminate with a rubbly a’a to blocky lava flow, identified through stratigraphic relationships, lava flow trends and flow types, a related dyking regime, and radial erosional features (i.e. ridges and valleys). Within the overall evolving geochemical trend of the Lyttelton Volcanic Complex, are cyclic eruptive phases, intrinsically linked to eruptive packages. Within an eruptive package, crystal content fluctuates, but there is a common trend of increasing feldspar content, with peak levels corresponding to a blocky lava flow horizon, indicating the role of increased crystalinity and lava flow rheology. Cyclic eruptive phases relate to discreet magma batches within the higher levels of the edifice, with crystal content increasing as each magma batch evolves, limiting the ability of the volcanic system, over time, to erupt. Evolving magmas resulted in explosive eruptions following effusive eruptives, and / or result in the intrusion of hypabyssal features such as dykes and domes, of more evolved compositions (i.e. trachyte). Each eruptive package hosts a radial dyke swarm, reflecting the stress state of a shallow level magma chamber or a newly developed stress field due to gravitational relaxation in the newly constructed edifice, at the time of emplacement. Two distinct erosional structures are modelled; radial valleys and cone-controlled valleys. Radial valleys reflect radial erosion about a cone’s summit, while cone-controlled valleys are regions where eruptive packages and cones from different centres meet, allowing stream development. Interbedded epiclastic deposits within the Lyttelton lava flow sequences indicate volcanic degradation during volcanic activity. As degradation of the volcanic complex progressed, summit regions coalesced, later becoming unidirectional breached, increasing the area of the drainage basin and thus the potential to erode and transport extensive amounts of material away, ultimately forming Lyttelton Harbour, Gebbies Pass, and the infilled Mt Herbert region. Epiclastic deposits on the south-eastern side of Lyttelton Harbour indicate a paleo-valley system (paleo-Lyttelton Harbour) existed prior to 8.1 Ma, while the morphology of the Lyttelton Volcanic Complex directed the eruptive sites, style and resultant morphology of the proceeding volcanic groups.

Lyttelton, Banks Peninsula, Volcanic Complex, Intraplate, Basaltic, Eruptive Packages, Geomorphology, Volcanic evolution
Ngā upoko tukutuku/Māori subject headings
ANZSRC fields of research
Copyright Samuel Job Hampton