Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Keith A. Klepeis


This thesis presents the results of structural analyses and detailed field mapping from a region near Adams Burn in central Fiordland, New Zealand. The region preserves assemblages of metasedimentary and metaigneous rocks deposited, intruded, and ultimately metamorphosed and deformed during the growth of a Gondwana-margin continental arc from Cambrian-Early Cretaceous. Evidence of arc growth is preserved in the Late Devonian-Early Cretaceous Median Batholith, a belt of intrusive rock whose growth culminated with the emplacement of the Western Fiordland Orthogneiss (WFO) into the middle-lower crust of the margin. Following this magmatic flare-up, the margin experienced Late Cretaceous extensional orogenic collapse and rifting. During the Late Tertiary, the margin records oblique convergence that preceded the Alpine fault. The history of arc growth and record of changing tectonic and deformational regimes makes the area ideal for study of structural reactivation during multiple cycles of magmatism, metamorphism and deformation, including during a mid-lower crust magma flare-up.

Structural and lithologic mapping, structural analyses, and cross-cutting relationships between superposed structures and three intrusions were used to bracket the relative timing of four tectonic events (D1-D4), spanning the Paleozoic to the Tertiary. The oldest event (D1) created a composite fabric in the metasedimentary and metaigneous rocks of the Irene Complex and Jaquiery granitoid gneiss prior to emplacement of the Carboniferous Cozette pluton. S1 foliation development, set the stage for structural reactivation during the second phase of deformation (D2), where S1 was folded and reactivated via intra-arc shearing. These second-phase structures were coeval with the emplacement of the Misty pluton, (part of WFO in central Fiordland), and record crustal thickening and deformation involving a kinematically partitioned style of transpression. Arc-normal displacements were localized into the rocks of the Irene Complex. Oblique displacements were localized along the Misty-Cozette plutonic contact, forming a ≥1 km-wide, upper amphibolite-facies gneissic shear zone that records sinistral-reverse offset. Second-phase structures are cross-cut by widespread leucocratic pegmatite dikes. S2 in the Cozette and Misty plutons is reactivated by localized, ≤10 m-thick, greenschist-facies (ultra)mylonitic shear zones that record sinistral-normal offsets. S3/L3 shear zones and lithologic contacts were then reactivated by two episodes of Tertiary, fourth-phase faulting compatible with Alpine faulting, everywhere truncating the pegmatite dikes. Early faults accommodated shortening normal to the Alpine fault, and were obliquely reactivated by a younger population of faults during dextral transpression.

My results show that structural reactivation occurred repeatedly after D1, and that structural inheritance played a key role in the geometry, distribution, and kinematics of younger deformation events throughout the arc's history. The sheeted emplacement of the Misty pluton was accompanied, and possibly facilitated, by a system of partitioned transpression during Early Cretaceous crustal thickening and arc magmatism. These results show that transpression helped accommodate and move magma through the middle and lower crust during the flare-up. This conclusion is important for the study of continental arcs globally, as evidence of deformation during high-flux magmatism at lower crustal depths (~40 km) is rarely preserved and exhumed to the surface.



Number of Pages

247 p.

Plate1_Plate2.pdf (4809 kB)

Included in

Geology Commons