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16

1:250000 Geological Map

Geology of the
Christchurch Area

P. J. FORSYTH
D. J. A. BARRELL
R. JONGENS
(COMPILERS)
Age Oxygen New
Age (ka) isotope Zealand
International New Zealand International New Zealand events stages
(Ma)
251.0 0.01 0 12

D'Urville
(Guadalupian) (Lopingian)
Changhsingian Makarewan YDm

Quater-
Holocene Haweran Wq

nary
Waiitian YDw 3

Late
Pleistocene Castlecliffian Wc 4

Wanganui
Wuchiapingian Puruhauan YDp 100 5
1.8

Haweran
260.4 Gelasian Nukumaruan Wn

Late
Pliocene
6
Capitanian Flettian YAf Piacenzian Mangapanian Wm
Middle

Wp 200 7
3.6 Waipipian
Wordian

Early
8

Aparima
Roadian Zanclean Opoitian Wo
Permian

270.6 Barrettian YAr 300


5.3 9
Kungurian Messinian Kapitean Tk 10
Mangapirian YAm 400 11
Artinskian

Taranaki
(Cisuralian)

12
Telfordian YAt
Early

Late
Tt 500 13
Tongaporutuan

NEOGENE
Tortonian
Sakmarian 14
Ypt

Castlecliffian
600 15
Asselian 16
299.0 11.2 17
Gzhelian 700 18
Waiauan Sw 19
20
Pennsylvanian

Miocene

Southland
CENOZOIC
Kasimovian 21
Serravallian 800

Middle
Moscovian
Lillburnian Sl
900
Bashkirian
Langhian Clifdenian Sc
318.1 16.4 1000
Carboniferous

Pareora
Serpukhovian Altonian Pl
Burdigalian

Early
F
Otaian Po
Mississippian

Aquitanian
Waitakian Lw
23.8

Landon
Visean
Oligocene
Early Late
Chattian Duntroonian Ld
28.5
Rupelian Whaingaroan Lwh
33.7 Runangan Ar
PALEOGENE

Late Priabonian

Arnold
37.0 Bartonian Kaiatan Ak
Eocene
Middle

Bortonian Ab
Tournasian
Lutetian Porangan Dp
Heretaungan Dh
359.2 49.0
Early

Dannevirke
Ypresian Mangaorapan Dm
Famennian Waipawan
Late

Dw
JU 55.5
Paleocene

Frasnian Thanetian
Early Late

385.3
Givetian Selandian Teurian Dt
Middle

61.0
JM
Eifelian Danian
Devonian

397.5 65.0
PALE O Z O I C

Maastrichtian
Emsian Jem
Mata

Haumurian Mh
Campanian
Early

Late

Pragian Jpr Santonian Piripauan Mp


Raukumara

Coniacian Teratan Rt

Jlo Turonian Mangaotanean Rm


Lochkovian
Cretaceous

Arowhanan Ra
417.2 Cenomanian
Ngaterian Cn
Clarence

Pridoli Epr 99.6


Motuan Cm
Albian
Silurian

Ludlow Elu Urutawan Cu


423.5
Korangan Uk
Wenlock Ewe Aptian
Early

Llandovery Ela Barremian


Taitai

443.2 Undifferentiated
Hirnantian Hauterivian
Bolindan Vbo
Taitai
Valanginian Series
Upper

Stage 6 Berriasian
Late

Eastonian Vea
145.5
Oteke

Puaroan Op
Stage 5 Gisbornian Vgi
MESOZOIC

Tithonian
Ordovician

460.5
Middle
Middle

Darriwilian Darriwilian Vda Ohauan Ko


Late

Yapeenian Vya
Stage 3 Castlemainian Kimmeridgian
Vca
472.0 Chewtonian Vch
Oxfordian Heterian Kh
Bendigonian Vbe 157.0
Kawhia

Stage 2 Callovian
Jurassic
Middle
Lower

Bathonian
Early

Temaikan Kt
Lancefieldian Vla
Bajocian

Tremadocian Aalenian
175.6
pre-Lancefieldian Vpl
490.0
Stage 6 Datsonian Xda Toarcian
Ururoan Hu
Payntonian
Herangi
Late

Xpa
Paibian Iverian Xiv
501 Idamean Xid Pliensbachian
Early

Mindyallan Xmi
Stage 4 Boomerangian Xbo Sinemurian
Undillan Xun Aratauran Ha
Stage 3 Hettangian
Middle

Floran Xfl 199.6


Stage 2
Cambrian

Rhaetian Otapirian Bo
Balfour

Warepan Bw
Ordian/Lower
Late

Stage 1 Xor Norian


Templetonian Otamitan Bm
510 Oretian Br
Triassic

Carnian Kaihikuan Gk
Early

237.0
XL
Middle

Ladinian
Gore

Etalian Ge
542
Anisian
Precambrian Z
245.0 Malakovian Gm
New Zealand geological
Early

Olenekian
Nelsonian Gn
251.0
Induan time scale (after Cooper 2004).
Geology of the
Christchurch Area

Scale 1:250 000

P. J. FORSYTH
D. J. A. BARRELL
R. JONGENS
(COMPILERS)

Institute of Geological & Nuclear Sciences 1:250 000 Geological Map 16

GNS Science
Lower Hutt, New Zealand

2008

i
BIBLIOGRAPHIC REFERENCE

Forsyth, P.J.; Barrell, D.J.A.; Jongens, R. (compilers) 2008: Geology of the Christchurch area. Institute of
Geological & Nuclear Sciences 1:250 000 geological map 16. 1 sheet + 67 p. Lower Hutt, New Zealand. GNS
Science.

Edited, designed, and prepared for publication by J.J. Aitken, B. Smith Lyttle, D.W. Heron, P.A. Carthew and P.L. Murray

Printed by Graphic Press and Packaging Ltd, Levin

ISBN 978-0-478-19649-8
Copyright Institute of Geological and Nuclear Sciences Limited 2008

FRONT COVER

The Avon River flows from right to left through the suburb of Avondale (the golf course is in the left middle distance) in
the eastern part of Christchurch city. The Avon-Heathcote estuary is visible beyond, with part of the northern coastline of
Banks Peninsula in the distance. Much of Christchurch is built on Holocene alluvial, swamp and coastal deposits, while
Banks Peninsula is the remnant of two coalesced Miocene volcanoes.
Photo CN21020/36: D.L. Homer.

ii
CONTENTS
ABSTRACT......................................................................v QUATERNARY...............................................................38
Scree and colluvial deposits.............................................38
Keywords...........................................................................v Landslide deposits ..........................................................38
Glacial deposits . .............................................................38
INTRODUCTION...........................................................1 River deposits .................................................................40
Alluvial fan deposits........................................................41
THE QMAP SERIES.........................................................1 Loess ...............................................................................41
Dune sand.........................................................................43
The QMAP geographic information system......................1
Swamp, lake and coastal deposits....................................43
Data sources.......................................................................1
Deposits of human origin.................................................43
Reliability...........................................................................1
SUBSURFACE AND OFFSHORE GEOLOGY.............44
REGIONAL SETTING......................................................1

GEOMORPHOLOGY ......................................................5 TECTONIC HISTORY.................................................45

Canterbury ranges and basins............................................5 Permian to Early Cretaceous............................................45


Canterbury Plains...............................................................9 Mid-Cretaceous to Paleogene..........................................45
Lake Ellesmere...................................................................9 Miocene and Pliocene......................................................45
Pegasus coast...................................................................11 Quaternary........................................................................46
Banks Peninsula...............................................................11 ENGINEERING GEOLOGY.......................................47
Offshore...........................................................................13
Chatham Islands...............................................................13 Paleozoic to Early Cretaceous rocks . .............................47
Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks...........47
STRATIGRAPHY..........................................................15 Cretaceous and Cenozoic volcanic rocks.........................47
Quaternary sediments.......................................................47
PERMIAN TO EARLY CRETACEOUS.........................15
GEOLOGICAL RESOURCES....................................48
Torlesse composite terrane..............................................15
Permian to Triassic rocks of the Chatham Islands...........15 Aggregate.........................................................................48
Rakaia terrane.................................................................17 Rip-rap.............................................................................49
Permian to Late Triassic sedimentary rocks....................17 Limestone.........................................................................49
Metamorphism and structure of Rakaia terrane...............18 Bentonite..........................................................................49
Jurassic sedimentary and igneous rocks..........................19 Clay..................................................................................49
Pahau terrane..................................................................20 Sand.................................................................................49
Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous sedimentary rocks......20 Building stone..................................................................49
Metamorphism and structure of Pahau terrane................21 Phosphate.........................................................................50
Esk Head belt...................................................................21 Metallic minerals.............................................................50
Late Triassic to Early Cretaceous sedimentary and Warm springs...................................................................50
volcanic rocks...............................................................21 Groundwater....................................................................51
Coal .................................................................................51
LATE CRETACEOUS TO PLIOCENE
Hydrocarbons...................................................................52
ROCKS OF CANTERBURY.......................................23
Late Cretaceous rocks......................................................23 GEOLOGICAL HAZARDS.........................................53
Latest Cretaceous to Early Oligocene rocks....................24 Earthquakes......................................................................53
Late Oligocene to Pliocene rocks....................................28 Landslides........................................................................56
Igneous rocks of Banks Peninsula...................................29 Erosion, flooding and sedimentation................................56
Undifferentiated Cenozoic intrusive rocks......................32 Tsunami............................................................................57
MID-CRETACEOUS TO PLEISTOCENE Groundwater contamination.............................................58
ROCKS OF THE CHATHAM ISLANDS...................32 AVAILABILITY OF QMAP DATA..............................59
Mid-Cretaceous sedimentary rocks..................................32
Late Cretaceous volcanic rocks.......................................33 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.............................................59
Paleogene sedimentary and volcanic rocks......................34
Pliocene volcanic and related sedimentary rocks............34 REFERENCES...............................................................60
Pliocene to Quaternary sediments . .................................37

iii
Lying at the northern edge of Banks Peninsula (Horomaka), Shag Rock (Rapanui, literally the great sternpost)
marks the entrance to the Avon-Heathcote estuary, known as Te Wahap (the Avon is tkaro and the
Heathcote is Opawaho). The sheltered waters of Te Wahap and the adjacent wetlands provided Mori with
rich resources of fish, birds and flax. Sand accumulations along the foot of the cliffs allowed safe access to
old sea caves, notably at Redcliffs (Te Rae Kura, literally red, glowing headlands) at far right. Here Moa Bone
Point Cave (Te Ana Hineraki) provided a place of shelter for Mori over many centuries.
Photo CN25490/18: D.L. Homer.

iv
ABSTRACT
The Christchurch 1:250 000 geological map covers a land in the Canterbury region. Late Miocene volcanism built
area of approximately 9870 km2 in the Canterbury region the two major overlapping volcanoes of Banks Peninsula.
of the South Island of New Zealand and the Chatham Further east, several volcanic episodes occurred in the
Islands, 850 km further east. It includes foothills of the Chatham Islands area, which remained largely submerged
Southern Alps, basins and ranges of northern Canterbury, from the Late Cretaceous until the Late Pliocene. These
Banks Peninsula and part of the Canterbury Plains. The islands are remote from the plate boundary and remain
map includes Chatham and Pitt islands and their many tectonically quiescent.
outlying islets and reefs.
Uplift by folding and faulting continues to the present day
The basement rock of the whole map area is the Torlesse in parts of Canterbury. Erosion of the uplifted landmass,
composite terrane a deformed package of Carboniferous together with glacial-interglacial climatic fluctuations,
to Cretaceous sedimentary and metasedimentary rocks resulted in the widespread deposition of unconsolidated
accreted to the Gondwanaland margin. The constituent Quaternary sediments. Gravel-laden braided river systems
Rakaia and Pahau terranes occur in the Christchurch map built the Canterbury Plains.
area, together with the Esk Head belt that is interpreted as a
tectonic suture between the two. The only schistose rocks There are vast resources of aggregate in Canterbury. Coal,
in the map area occur on northern Chatham Island. The clay, limestone and sand have been extracted from the
greywacke islets of The Forty Fours are the easternmost Cretaceous-Cenozoic sedimentary sequence, and there is
emergent land of New Zealand. potential for hydrocarbons to be discovered in this sequence
beneath the Canterbury Plains or offshore. Phosphorite
The break-up of eastern Gondwanaland began in the mid- deposits are known on the sea floor of the Chatham
Cretaceous with associated igneous activity, subsidence Rise. Shallow groundwater resources are substantial and
and deposition. Progressive regional submergence are widely exploited on the Canterbury Plains, but are
through the Late Cretaceous and Paleogene resulted in a vulnerable to contamination.
terrestrial to marine transgressive coal measure sequence
of conglomerate, sandstone and mudstone. The extent Significant geological hazards affecting the map area
of land reached a minimum in the latest Oligocene, with include ground shaking, liquefaction and ground rupture
widespread deposition of calcareous sediments in the from earthquakes; erosion, flooding and sedimentation are
surrounding sea. Early Miocene tectonic deformation, other hazards. Slope instability is widespread in hill and
associated with the Australian-Pacific plate boundary west mountain terrain. Low-lying areas along the coast are at
of the map area, resulted in increased uplift and erosion risk from tsunami and sea-level rise.
and the development of a regressive sedimentary sequence

Keywords

Christchurch; Canterbury; Chatham Islands; 1:250 000 geological map; GIS; geographic information
system; QMAP; digital data; Torlesse Range; Puketeraki Range; Canterbury Plains; Banks Peninsula;
Lake Ellesmere/Waihora; Kaitorete barrier; Akaroa Harbour; Lyttelton Harbour; Torlesse composite terrane;
Chatham Schist; Rakaia terrane; Pahau terrane; Esk Head belt; Wakaepa Formation; Pember Diorite; Mount
Somers Volcanics Group; Monro Conglomerate; Eyre Group; Motunau Group; Kowai Formation; Thomas
Formation; Burnt Hill Group; Allandale Rhyolite; Governors Bay Andesite; Lyttelton Volcanic Group; Mt Herbert
Volcanic Group; Akaroa Volcanic Group; Diamond Harbour Volcanic Group; Waihere Bay Group; Pitt Island
Group; Tioriori Group; Kekerione Group; Mairangi Group; Karewa Group; Porters Pass Fault; Mt White
Fault; Torlesse Fault Zone; Grey Fault; Birch Fault; Ashley Fault; Cust Fault; Esk Fault; Lees Valley Fault;
Springbank Fault; Cust Anticline; aggregate; limestone; bentonite; clay; sand; building stone; phosphorite;
warm springs; coal; hydrocarbons; groundwater; engineering geology; natural hazards; active fault; active
fold; earthquake; Modified Mercalli scale; landslide; rock avalanche; erosion; flooding; sedimentation; tsunami.
v
170 E 175 E 180 E

Ne
w
Ca
35 S le
do 20
Kaitaia 35 S
ni 00 Whangarei
a

200
Ba
si

0
n
Auckland

Waikato Rotorua 47 mm/yr


Challenger Taranaki
Raukumara

Plateau Basin
Hawkes
Taranaki Bay
40 S
u gh 40 S

Australian Tro
Plate Nelson Wellington Wairarapa i
a ng
Pacific
20 ur
00 ik Plate
H
Greymouth Kaikoura 41 mm/yr

38 mm/yr 2000
ult
Haast Fa Chatham Ris
Aoraki e
pine
Al QMAP
Christchurch
Wakatipu Waitaki
45 S
Fiordland 45 S
hc
Tren

r
37 mm/y B o u n t y Tr o u g
Murihiku Dunedin h
egur

2000
Puys

Campbell Plateau 0 100 200


Kilometres
165 E 170 E 175 E 180 E

Figure 1 Regional tectonic setting of New Zealand, showing the location of the Christchurch geological map and other
QMAP sheets, major offshore features (illustrated by the 2000 m isobath) and active faults. Arrows show the rate and
direction of Pacific Plate movement relative to the Australian Plate. The diagram shows the Chatham Islands in their
correct relationship to the mainland of New Zealand.

vi
INTRODUCTION
THE QMAP SERIES Dunedin. Geological contacts and units have been simplified
but point data (for example, dip/strike measurements) have
This geological map (Fig. 1) is one of the national QMAP not. All point data are stored in the GIS with a selection of
series (Quarter-million-scale MAP; Nathan 1993) produced these shown on the map. Procedures for map compilation,
by GNS Science. QMAP updates the earlier Geological Map and details of data storage and manipulation techniques,
of New Zealand 1:250 000 (four miles to the inch) series. Two are given by Rattenbury & Heron (1997).
sheets in that series Hurunui (Gregg 1964) and Christchurch
(Suggate 1973) overlap with the Christchurch map area. Data sources
Considerable geological research has been completed since
those maps were published, including detailed geological The map and text have been compiled from a wide variety of
mapping at 1:50 000, commercial investigations, university sources, including published maps and papers, unpublished
theses, and studies of the Cretaceous and Cenozoic university theses, GNS Science technical and map files,
sedimentary rocks (Field, Browne et al. 1989; Wood et mining company reports, field trip guides, the New Zealand
al. 1989). The geology of the Chatham Islands has been Fossil Record file (FRED), the Geological Resource Map
described in comprehensive studies by Hay et al. (1970) and of New Zealand (GERM) and the petrological (PETLAB)
Campbell et al. (1993). digital database (Fig. 2). Additional field mapping was
undertaken in the Christchurch map area between 2005
The geology shown on the map has been generalised for and 2008 to resolve problems and to fill significant gaps in
presentation at 1:250 000 scale. Rock types are differentiated knowledge within the map area. No additional field work
primarily in terms of their age of deposition, eruption or was carried out on the Chatham Islands. Many areas of
intrusion. The colour of the units on the map face reflects Quaternary deposits, including landslides, were mapped
their age, with overprints used to distinguish some lithologies. primarily using aerial photos, with limited field checking.
Letter symbols (in upper case, some with a lower case prefix Offshore and subsurface onshore data were compiled from
to indicate early, middle or late) give the predominant age of published studies of the Canterbury region and eastern
the unit. Metamorphic rocks are mapped in terms of the age offshore areas (Field, Browne et al. 1989; Wood et al. 1989)
of the parent rock, with overprints reflecting the degree of and unpublished data provided by Austral Pacific Energy
metamorphism. The last lower case letters indicate either a Ltd. Data sources used in map compilation are summarised
formal lithostratigraphic unit or the predominant rock type. in Figure 2.
A time scale showing the correlation between international
and local time scales, and ages in millions of years (Ma) or Reliability
thousands of years (ka), is inside the front cover (Cooper
2004). The process of map compilation and simplification limits
the precision with which geological contacts, faults
The text is generalised and is not a complete description and folds can be shown at 1:250 000. The unpublished
of the various rock units mapped. Most names applied to 1:50 000 data record sheets have a greater precision of
geological units are those already published. References to detail and accuracy. QMAP is a regional scale map, and
more detailed information are cited throughout the text. should not be used in isolation for any activities that require
geological site investigations, such as land development,
The QMAP geographic information system planning and design of engineering projects, or detailed
geological hazard assessments.
The QMAP series uses computer methods to store,
manipulate and present geological information. The maps REGIONAL SETTING
are drawn from data stored in the QMAP geographic
information system (GIS), a database developed and The Christchurch geological map comprises two distinct
maintained by GNS Science. The primary software used land areas: part of the Canterbury region in the eastern
is ArcInfo. South Island (an area of approximately 8900 km2), and the
Chatham Islands about 850 km to the east (approximately
Digital topographic data were obtained from Land 970 km2 in area).1 The intervening submerged Chatham
Information New Zealand. The QMAP database is Rise is excluded from the map.
complementary to, and can be used in conjunction with,
other spatially referenced GNS Science digital data sets, The Christchurch map area has a population of about
such as gravity and magnetic surveys, mineral resources 440 000 (Statistics New Zealand 2006 census) mostly
and localities, fossil localities, active faults, and petrological concentrated in and around Christchurch, the South
samples. Islands largest city. Pastoral farming once dominated the
Canterbury economy, but forestry, viticulture, tourism and
The QMAP series and database are based on detailed recreation have become major economic activities. With
geological information plotted by hand on 1:50 000 diversification of land use and population expansion, many
topographic base maps. These data record sheets are smaller towns that formerly serviced agriculture have
available for consultation at GNS offices in Lower Hutt and become urban satellites of Christchurch, and the new towns
1
These areas include the substantial water bodies of Lake Ellesmere
and Te Whanga Lagoon.

1
3 16 20 1
37 32 5 8 27
11
39 33
9 59 18
28 24 58
29 52
57 60
31 4
17 49
30 15 26
21 54
2 10
15 53
56
15 34
6 14
12 15 14 52
23

51 15
7 40
41
46
13
36
19
25
35 47

52
50
42

40 38 19
52 43
48
44
22
53

45

40
52

Theses Published maps

55 Published papers Reports

Seismic reflection Unpublished material


surveys
27

Theses 18 Smart 1954 Published maps Seismic surveys


1 Barrell 1989 19 Tappenden 2003 34 Brown 1973 51 Dorn et al. 2008
2 Blair 1972 20 Yousif 1987 35 Brown & Weeber 1992 52 Kirkaldy et al. 1963
3 Botsford 1983 36 Cox 1978 53 Schlumberger Geco
4 Carr 1970 Published papers 37 Gregg 1964 Prakla 1998 - 2000
5 Cowan 1992 21 Andrews 1974 38 Griffiths 1974
6 Coyle 1988 22 Armon 1974 39 Griffiths 1978 Reports
7 Evans 2000 23 Barnes 1996 40 Kear et al. 1967 54 McPherson 1991
8 Finnemore 2004 24 Bradshaw & Newman 1979 41 Raeside & Rennie 1974 55 McPherson 1997
9 Garlick 1992 25 Carlson et al. 1980 42 Rennie & Bennett 1981 56 Sisson et al. 2001
10 Howard 2001 26 Cowan et al. 1996 43 Sewell & Weaver 1990 57 Yetton 2004
11 Justice 1994 27 Field, Browne et al. 1989 44 Sewell et al. 1992 58 Yetton et al. 2002
12 Marden 1976 28 Gage 1956 45 Sewell et al. 1988
13 Mathews 1989 29 Gage 1958 46 Speight 1928 Unpublished
14 May 2004 30 Gage 1970 47 Suggate 1973 59 Campbell 1999
15 McLennan 1981 31 Mason 1941 48 Ward et al. 1964 60 Cowan & Nicol 1990
16 Nicol 1991 32 Newman & Bradshaw 1981 49 Wilson 1963
17 Powell 2000 33 Nicol et al. 1994 50 Wilson 1989

Figure 2 Geological data sources for the Canterbury and Chatham Islands parts of this map. The Chatham Islands are
shown at the same scale as Canterbury. Unpublished maps are held in the map archives of GNS Science, the Ministry of
Economic Development, or in university libraries. Details of individual sources are provided in the references.

2
3 1

2
Published maps
1. Campbell et al. 1993
2. Hay et al. 1970
3. Wood et al. 1989

Published papers
4. Adams & Robinson 1977
5. Andrews et al. 1978

of Rolleston and Pegasus are being built. About 600 people mainly comprises thick, deformed packages of indurated
live on the Chatham Islands, where fishing and farming are sandstone and mudstone, informally known as greywacke.
the main economic activities. It includes the Rakaia and Pahau terranes (Fig. 3), together
with the intervening Esk Head belt, interpreted as a tectonic
The northwestern part of the Canterbury map area is suture between the two. Chatham Schist on northern
dominated by the foothills of the Southern Alps, while Chatham Island is interpreted as part of the Torlesse
the Canterbury Plains comprise the central part. Most of composite terrane.
the population centres are situated on alluvial plains. In
northern Canterbury, the plains give way to downlands, Mid-Cretaceous volcanic, shallow intrusive and sedimentary
ranges and basins. To the east, the Canterbury Plains rocks occur locally in the Canterbury foothills, beneath the
abut the eroded volcanic massif of Banks Peninsula. The Canterbury Plains, on Banks Peninsula and on the Chatham
Chatham Islands are the emergent part of the submarine Islands. More extensive deposition of sedimentary rocks
Chatham Rise. began in the Late Cretaceous and continued through to
Pleistocene time, generally forming a single large cycle
The Canterbury ranges and basins lie in a zone of active of marine transgression and regression with intermittent
tectonic deformation produced by the ongoing convergence intraplate volcanic episodes. One of these, in the Miocene,
of the Australian and Pacific plates (Fig. 1). Southeast formed Banks Peninsula which is the largest accumulation
of the Canterbury range front and associated downlands, of Cenozoic volcanic rocks in the South Island. On the
the areas further from the plate boundary zone, including Chatham Islands, episodes of submarine volcanism and
the Canterbury Plains, Banks Peninsula and the Chatham sedimentation on a current-swept oceanic platform resulted
Islands, are tectonically much less active. in patchy preservation of discontinuous rock bodies.

The basement rocks of the whole map area are Paleozoic Changing dynamics of the Australian-Pacific plate boundary
to Mesozoic sedimentary and metamorphic rocks, termed during the Neogene resulted in widespread faulting and
Torlesse composite terrane, that were originally part of the folding that deformed the basement and overlying cover,
Gondwanaland supercontinent. This composite terrane and resulted in uplift and the formation of ranges and
3
SEDIMENTARY AND VOLCANIC ROCKS

Northland and East Coast allochthons

Waipapa composite terrane Torlesse composite


(western North Island) terrane (eastern NZ)
(Waioeka Northland

Eastern
Morrinsville petrofacies) Pahau
Allochthon
Hunua Kaweka Rakaia

Caples terrane

Province
Dun Mountain - Maitai terrane
Murihiku terrane
Brook Street terrane

East Coast

Province
Allochthon

Western
Takaka terrane
Buller terrane

PLUTONIC ROCKS
Median Batholith
Karamea Batholith
Paparoa Batholith
Hohonu Batholith

REGIONAL TECTONIC-
METAMORPHIC OVERPRINTS
Esk Head Belt and deformed
zones in the Pahau terrane

gh
Haast Schist

ou
Tr
Gneiss ngi
ura
Hik
N

200 km
ULT
FA

NE
PI
AL

Christchurch
h
nc
e
Tr
ur
eg
ys
Pu

Figure 3 Pre-Cenozoic basement rocks of New Zealand, subdivided into tectonostratigraphic terranes and batholiths; the
extent of the Northland and East Coast allochthons is also shown (after Mortimer 2004 and Adams et al. 2007). The inset
map shows more detail for the Christchurch map area, where the Torlesse composite terrane is differentiated into Rakaia
terrane (blue), Esk Head belt (overprint) and Pahau terrane (grey-green).

basins. The Late Cretaceous to Pliocene cover sequence in the lowlands. Although glaciers have disappeared
was eroded from many uplifted areas but has been preserved from the map area, their deposits occur in inland areas of
in inland basins, beneath the Canterbury Plains, in northern Canterbury. Glacial/interglacial cycles also caused large
Canterbury, and offshore. fluctuations in sea level, which influenced sedimentation
in coastal and offshore areas. Since their emergence in the
During the Quaternary, geological processes and landscape Late Pliocene, the Chatham Islands have accumulated an
evolution were influenced by global cycles of warmer extensive blanket of unconsolidated sediments, including
(interglacial) and colder (glacial) climate. Glaciation in the occasional ash layers from distant North Island volcanic
mountains was associated with widespread sedimentation eruptions.
4
GEOMORPHOLOGY subdued hills, such as parts of the Malvern Hills, to rugged
mountains such as the Torlesse and Puketeraki ranges.
The landscape of the Christchurch map area reflects the
influences of tectonics, localised volcanism, rock strength Over time, rivers have cut gorges through these rising
and structure, sediment deposition and coastal erosion. ranges, the Waimakariri (Otarama) gorge (Fig. 5) being the
There are several distinct physiographic areas (Fig. 4). longest and most spectacular. Alluvial fans and plains have
formed within the basins, particularly during Pleistocene
Canterbury ranges and basins glaciations. In many places, these depositional landforms
have been incised periodically by rivers to form terraced
Ranges and basins east of the Southern Alps have been valleys and nested alluvial fans.
formed by tectonic movements associated with the evolution
of the Australian-Pacific plate boundary. The ranges are the In the upper Waimakariri basin, large valley glaciers
result of uplift by faulting and/or folding, while the basins extended from the Southern Alps during a succession of
lie in areas of lesser uplift or subsidence. Ranges vary from glaciations, most recently during the Last Glacial Maximum

CANTERBURY Waipara Coastal


upper
RANGES & BASINS basin hills
Waipara
Waimakariri R.
basin

Ko
Lees

w
ai
Valley

R
N

.
Ashle
y R.

Eyr
e R
.
Haw

Malvern
Hills PEGASUS
kins

.
k a ri ri R
Wa im a COAST
R.
Se
lw

Avon-Heathcote
yn

Ho
ro
C A N T E R B U RY P L A I N S Estuary
R.

ra
ta
R.
R Lyttelton Harbour
ak
ai
a
R
.
BA NK S
PE NINS UL A
LAKE
Lake Akaroa
ELLESMERE Forsyth Harbour

Kaitorete
barrier
Ashb
urto
n R

0 10 20
.

Canterbury range front


Kilometres

Figure 4 Shaded topographic relief model of the Christchurch map area, illuminated from the northwest and showing
the main physiographic features. The model is derived from 20 metre contour data supplied by Land Information New
Zealand.

5
Figure 5 Uplift and erosion of greywacke rock (Rakaia terrane) have produced a rugged landscape in the foothills east of
the Torlesse Range (far left). The Waimakariri River emerges from the foothills via the Otarama Gorge (centre right) and
has cut an entrenched flight of terraces at the western margin of the Canterbury Plains.
Photo CN3562/11: D.L. Homer.

(LGM) which ended about 18 000 years ago. Associated Hummocky landslide terrain is common, and locally very
landforms include scoured bedrock knobs and ridges, extensive, on slopes within Late Cretaceous to Pliocene
hummocky moraine and meltwater outwash terraces (Fig. sedimentary rocks. The largest landslides are seated in
6). Wave-cut benches on alluvial fans show that a glacial mudstones that underlie Oligocene limestones, notably in
lake once existed behind moraines of the LGM (Gage the Waipara gorge and in the coastal hills (Fig. 8). The
1958). Most of the present-day lakes are impounded by basin floor landscapes, such as in Lees Valley and the
alluvial fans, but Blackwater is a kettle hole produced by Waipara basin, are dominated by alluvial fans and terraced
the melting of buried ice. Scattered cirque basins were river plains. Loess is common on older parts of the basin
formed by smaller glaciers in the Torlesse and Puketeraki floors and margins.
ranges.
A prominent range front escarpment, largely fault-
The landscape further south and east was not directly controlled, faces the Canterbury Plains and trends northeast
affected by glaciers, and is predominantly tectonic in from the Torlesse Range to Mt Grey (Fig. 9). The transition
origin. The seaward flank of the Northern Canterbury hills from the range and basin topography to the Canterbury
shows flights of tilted interglacial marine terraces, the most Plains in most places is marked by downlands subdued
prominent of which is the Motunau coastal plain (Fig. 7). landscapes of broad ridges dissected by steep gullies
The highest terraces of the Waipara River also show tilting draining to broad valleys. The downlands are formed on
associated with anticlinal folding across the coastal hills. gently dipping Late Cretaceous to Pliocene sedimentary
Tilted beds of resistant rock form strike ridges, for example rocks, or on mid- to high-level terraces of older Quaternary
the limestone ridges around the Waipara gorge and the gravels, all commonly mantled by loess.
basalt cuesta forming the Harper Hills.
6
Figure 6 The braided Waimakariri River drains eastward (left) through the formerly glaciated upper Waimakariri basin.
Extensive hummocky moraine in the basin floor, in places rilled by gullying, caps ice-trimmed greywacke rock. Wave-cut
benches (centre) mark the diminishing levels of a moraine-dammed lake that temporarily occupied the valley floor after
the retreat of ice-age glaciers. Lakes Pearson (left), Grasmere and Sarah (far right) are impounded by overlapping alluvial
fans. The Craigieburn Range (centre-right distance) and the hills beyond lie west of the map boundary.
Photo CN14732/26: D.L. Homer.

Figure 7 The Motunau coastal


plain is a wave-cut bench formed
during a previous interglacial
period. Long-term tectonic uplift
and modern sea-cliff erosion have
caused the Motunau River to cut
a sinuous valley into the marine
terrace.
Photo CN24145/10: D.L. Homer.

7
Figure 8 The Montserrat Landslide southwest of Motunau
is a large, deep-seated complex slump/earthflow. It has
developed in Eocene bentonitic mudstones, disrupting the
overlying mid-Cenozoic formations. The steeply-dipping
rock in the foreground near the modern sea cliff is Omihi
Formation, tilted by deep-seated failure and mobilisation of
the underlying bentonite. Photo CN24146/14: D.L. Homer.

Figure 9 One of the most distinctive landforms of the


Christchurch area is the range-front escarpment that rises
sharply at the northwestern margin of the Canterbury Plains,
seen here from the Torlesse Range (left) to Mt Oxford
(right). Last Glaciation alluvial gravel surfaces abut the low
ranges of the Malvern Hills in the left middle distance. The
narrow Holocene floodplain of the Hawkins River (centre)
flows down the southwestern side of the Waimakariri glacial
outwash fan. Photo CN6883/13: D.L. Homer.

8
Canterbury Plains not associated with any obvious signs of deformation, and
may be summits of an earlier range and basin landscape
The vast expanse of the Canterbury Plains comprises buried by alluvial aggradation.
coalesced floodplains. Large parts of the plains are
abandoned braided-river floodplains, last occupied during Lake Ellesmere
the LGM. On the inner parts of the plains, most of the
rivers have cut into the LGM plains surface. The deep, Post-glacial sea-level rise drowned the interfluve between
terraced, canyons of the Waimakariri River upstream of the Rakaia and Waimakariri gravel plains, forming the
Courtney, and the Rakaia River upstream of Rokeby, are Lake Ellesmere (Te Waihora) embayment. Initially an inlet
striking examples of post-glacial entrenchment. Incision of the sea, the embayment was progressively enclosed by
diminishes downstream, with the lower parts of the river growth of Kaitorete Spit. Presently a barrier rather than
passing downstream onto active or recently abandoned a true open-ended spit, Kaitorete comprises beach gravel
Holocene braided floodplains. Southwest of Lake and sand transported by longshore drift northeast from the
Ellesmere and north of the Ashley River, a Holocene coastal rivers and eroding coastline of the Canterbury Bight (Fig.
cliff is cut into the seaward edge of the plains (Fig. 10). In 10). The barrier is dominated by broad gravel ridges nearly
the coastal reaches of the Ashburton, Rakaia, Kowai and parallel to the present coast (Fig. 11). A series of curved
Waipara rivers, cliff retreat has forced the lower reaches of ridges at its inner margin formed during earlier phases
the rivers and streams to incise in order to maintain grade to of its evolution. During the late Holocene, Rakaia and
sea level at the foot of the sea cliff (Leckie 1994). Waimakariri floodwaters sometimes drained into Ellesmere.
These large inflows caused persistent breaching of the
Hills and ridges of older rocks stand above the alluvial barrier, creating open estuarine rather than impounded
plains surface. Near Mairaki Downs and View Hill, uplifted lacustrine conditions (Soons et al. 1997). Beach ridges
river terraces reveal active fold or fault growth, with the around Ellesmere mark former impounded high lake levels
margins of the elevated ground progressively trimmed by (Hemmingsen 1997) and are best developed on older parts
the adjacent river systems. Racecourse Hill is an eroded of the former river floodplains. Progradation of Kaitorete
remnant of gravel alluvium that has been elevated on the barrier has recently enclosed Lake Forsyth (Wairewa),
crest of an active anticline. Burnt Hill and Gorge Hill are which had been open to the sea until the mid-19th century

Figure 10 The Canterbury Bight coastline


is exposed to southerly swells. Gravel
is continually swept northeastward,
as illustrated by the longshore spit
constricting the mouth of the Ashburton
River. The 25-metre-high coastal cliff is
the result of ongoing wave erosion of the
seaward edge of the Canterbury Plains.
Cliff retreat has caused the lower reaches
of rivers and streams to cut valleys into
the plains to maintain grade to sea level.
Cliff erosion is the main source of gravel
supply to the mobile beach face, and
ultimately contributes to the growth of
Kaitorete Spit.
Photo CN24205/18: D.L. Homer.

9
Figure 11 The beach gravel barrier of Kaitorete Spit stretches from the seaward margin of the Canterbury Plains to the
volcanic rock ridges of Banks Peninsula and separates Lake Ellesmere (far right) from the Canterbury Bight (left). Gravel
ridges (right middle distance) hooking into Lake Ellesmere formed when Kaitorete was an open-ended spit and Ellesmere
an estuary. Lake Forsyth (foreground) has been impounded by more recent growth of the barrier near the settlement of
Birdlings Flat. Photo CN23347/10: D.L. Homer.

Figure 12 A spit of beach and dune sand separates the sea from the large Brooklands Lagoon at the mouth of the
Waimakariri River on the Pegasus Bay coast. This prograding coastline is low-lying and dominated by swamps and
dunefields. The villages of Kairaki (foreground) and Brooklands (middle distance) are built on elevated ground within the
dune areas to reduce susceptibility to flooding. Photo CN24117/16: D.L. Homer.

10
(Soons et al. 1997). The outlets of both lakes are artificially Banks Peninsula
controlled to reduce flooding.
Banks Peninsula comprises the deeply eroded remnants of
Pegasus coast two large and overlapping Miocene volcanoes Lyttelton
in the northwest and Akaroa in the southeast as well as
Like the Lake Ellesmere area, the Pegasus Bay coast was several minor volcanic centres. Many of the lava flows dip
inundated by post-glacial sea-level rise. Fluvial sediments outwards from former vents near the present-day Lyttelton
have built out progressively across the coastal zone, where and Akaroa harbours. These harbours are primarily drowned
they are redistributed by wave and wind action. Longshore river valleys that have existed for millions of years: lava
drift on the Pegasus coast is toward the south, in contrast to flows in the Diamond Harbour area were erupted between
that in the Canterbury Bight. Swamps and dune fields have about 6 and 7 million years ago onto a landscape similar to
developed during Holocene coastal progradation of up to that of the present day (Sewell et al. 1992; Fig. 13). The
12 km over the last 4000 years (Shulmeister & Kirk 1993). outer flanks of the volcanoes are dissected by deep radial
The South New Brighton sand spit largely encloses the valleys, resulting in a deeply embayed coastline alternating
Avon-Heathcote estuary (front cover) and the Brooklands with high cliffs (Fig. 14). Extensive bayhead sand and
spit has developed near the Waimakariri River mouth (Fig. mud flats, and sandy beach ridges, occur in the larger bays
12). These spits, together with the Ashley River mouth, (Dingwall 1974; Stephenson & Shulmeister 1999).
have changed substantially in historic times.
Mt Herbert (919 m) is the highest point of Banks Peninsula,
North of the Ashley River, the seaward edge of the and several other peaks are over 800 m high. The peaks
Canterbury Plains is a former sea cliff cut following the are primarily erosional features, formed during dissection
culmination of the post-glacial sea-level rise. The cliff has of the volcanoes. The most rugged peaks, such as Castle
become stabilised and protected by the eastward outbuilding Rock in the Port Hills between Lyttelton and Christchurch,
of beach and dune sediment. and Panama Rock, Pulpit Rock and Devils Gap on the

Figure 13 Lyttelton Harbour looking east from near Marleys Hill, with Port of Lyttelton (distant left), Quail Island (left of
centre), Governors Bay (near centre), Charteris Bay (distant centre) and tidal flats at Head of the Bay (far right). Above
Quail Island, some of the youngest lava flows on Banks Peninsula form the slopes that dip gently towards the harbour from
the high point of Mt Herbert (skyline right of centre). Photo CN23318: D.L. Homer.

Figure 14 The cliffs on the southeastern coast of Banks Peninsula near Pompeys Pillar reveal multiple lava flows dipping
gently towards the sea. The yellow loess that mantles the volcanic rock is thick enough to produce the smooth landform
that characterises many of the ridges and valley slopes of Banks Peninsula. Photo CN25432: D.L. Homer.

11
Figure 15 The Devils Gap eroded lava dome is a prominent landmark on the southwest of Akaroa Volcano, between
Akaroa Harbour and Lake Forsyth. The smooth slopes in the middle distance are developed on loess and colluvium that
mantle the volcanic rocks. Photo CN25495/10: D.L. Homer.

Figure 16 Volcanic hills rise above extensive peat-covered plains on northern Chatham Island. The rocks forming Mt
Dieffenbach (left), Saddle Hill (centre) and Mt Chudleigh (far right) are thought to be of Pliocene age.
Photo: I.M. Turnbull.

12
Akaroa volcano, were formed from trachyte domes (Fig. Chatham Islands
15). Most slopes on the peninsula are mantled by loess and
colluvium (Fig. 14), and the thickest deposits on the lower The Chatham Islands comprise two major islands, Chatham
slopes are dissected by tunnel gullies and rills. and Pitt, and many islets.

Offshore The northern Chatham Island landscape is low and gently


rolling, underlain by schist and semischist, mostly covered
The main feature of the offshore area shown on the map is with peat, and fringed by coastal sand plains, dunes and
the Canterbury continental shelf. Its outer edge lies at about lakes. Numerous isolated volcanic cones are a prominent
150 m depth, some 80 km southeast of Kaitorete barrier and feature of the landscape (Fig. 16). The central part of the
50 km southeast of Banks Peninsula (Herzer 1981a). The island is dominated by the shallow Te Whanga Lagoon,
sea floor of the Canterbury Bight has a very gentle (<0.1) which is bounded to the west and south by low cliffs cut in
gradient, whereas the inner-shelf gradients to the southeast Cenozoic rocks, while to the north and east it is confined
of Banks Peninsula are steeper (up to 1.5), with a depth of by long belts of sand dunes. The southern part of Chatham
50 m reached between 2 and 3 km offshore. An extensive Island is a high, dissected plateau developed on Late
area of submarine ridge and swale morphology between Cretaceous volcanic rocks. The plateau is largely mantled
about 70 and 100 m depth southeast of Banks Peninsula by peat, with many small lakes and a rugged, cliffed
is interpreted as relict beach/spit/lagoon complexes formed coastline (Fig. 17).
during low sea levels of the LGM (Herzer 1981a). The
sea bed of Pegasus Bay has generally gentle gradients, but Pitt Island is generally higher and more rugged than
the sea bed northeast of Waipara River is quite irregular Chatham, but much of it is likewise a dissected plateau
between 10 and 40 m depth, and is interpreted as an erosion with high coastal cliffs. In the northeast, the prominent
surface cut on older Quaternary deposits (Carter & Herzer flat-topped hill Hakepa is formed of trachyte (Fig. 18).
1986; Barnes 1995). Lower, undulating country in the north and centre of Pitt
Island is formed on less resistant Cretaceous to Paleogene
Further offshore, the Chatham Rise is a broad, linear sedimentary and volcanic rocks. Many cliffed islands west
feature that extends east for more than 1000 km. The of Pitt Island (including Mangere, Little Mangere, The
average depth along the crest of the rise is about 400 m, but Castle, and Sail Rock) are the wave-eroded remnants of a
shallows locally over several banks and at the eastern end large Pliocene volcano.
where the crest emerges as the Chatham Islands.

Figure 17 Part of the southern Chatham Island cliffed coastline, viewed from the vicinity of The Pinnacles, east of Oropuke.
The cliffs expose lava flows of the Southern Volcanics (Pitt Island Group), which underlie an extensive high plateau. The
small high point on the distant skyline is Karore (282 m), one of the highest points on the island. Photo: I.M. Turnbull.

13
A

Figure 18 Pitt Island and Pitt Strait.


A: This view west from Hakepa shows rolling country in the centre of Pitt Island. Trachyte of the Southern Volcanics (Pitt
Island Group) forms the foreground, but most of the middle distance is underlain by softer volcanic rocks of the Kekerione
Group. The hill at far left is Waihere (241 m), the highest point on Pitt Island. In the distance are (from right) Mangere Island,
Little Mangere Island and The Castle. Little Mangere Island was the last refuge of the rare and endangered black robins
(Petroica traversi), since relocated to Mangere in an intensive conservation programme. Photo: P.N. Johnson.

B: Islets, stacks and reefs of Pitt Strait, viewed from the south coast of Chatham Island, southwest of Oropuke.
From left: Little Mangere (with southwestern Pitt Island beyond), The Castle, two un-named islets, South Reef, The Pyramid,
Round Rock and Sail Rock. Marine erosion has reduced a Pliocene volcano to these jagged stumps of hard Mairangi Group
rocks. Photo: I.M. Turnbull.

14
STRATIGRAPHY
Late Paleozoic to Mesozoic quartzofeldspathic sedimentary Permian to Triassic rocks of the Chatham Islands
rocks, commonly called greywacke, form the basement
that underlies the Christchurch map area. In Canterbury, The Forty Fours islands (Fig. 19) consist mainly of
they form the Southern Alps foothills and are exposed on a indistinctly bedded quartzofeldspathic sandstone, with
small part of Banks Peninsula. Sandstone and semischist a few thin interbeds of mudstone and rare sandstone-
of similar age are exposed in the Chatham Islands. clast breccia (YTt) (Andrews et al. 1978). These hard,
unfossiliferous rocks are of textural zone I (t.z. I). Their
Cretaceous and Cenozoic non-marine and marine maximum age, from detrital zircon data, is latest Permian
sedimentary rocks crop out mainly along the Canterbury (Adams et al. 2008), and they are probably not a correlative
range front and on the Chatham Islands. Cretaceous and of Matarakau Greywacke as suggested by Campbell et al.
Cenozoic volcanic rocks are exposed in the Southern Alps (1993). Although the pattern of detrital zircon ages may
foothills, on Banks Peninsula, and on the Chatham Islands.
Quaternary alluvial deposits form the extensive Canterbury B
Plains, and a variety of terrestrial deposits of similar age
cover much of the Chatham Islands.

PERMIAN TO EARLY CRETACEOUS

Torlesse composite terrane

The basement rocks of New Zealand are mapped in


tectonostratigraphic terranes (Bishop et al. 1985; Bradshaw
1989; Fig. 3), of which only the Torlesse composite
terrane crops out in the Christchurch map area. It
comprises indurated quartzofeldspathic sedimentary rocks,
predominantly sandstone and mudstone, that range in age
B: At the Kaingaroa Wharf, well-foliated schist with
from Late Carboniferous to Early Cretaceous in the South
greenschist layers (Kaingaroa Volcanics) is cut by thin late-
Island, and Late Triassic to Early Cretaceous in the North
stage quartz veins. Photo: J.G. Begg.
Island. The Torlesse composite terrane includes the Rakaia
and Pahau terranes, which can be distinguished from each
other on the basis of fossil assemblages, petrography, C
geochemistry, conglomerate clast composition, and age
(Andrews et al. 1976; MacKinnon 1983; Roser & Korsch
1999; Wandres et al. 2004a). The Esk Head belt is a zone
of intense deformation between the Rakaia and Pahau
terranes. In the Chatham Islands, the basement rocks are
placed within the Torlesse composite terrane.

Figure 19 Basement rocks of the Torlesse composite


terrane on the Chatham Islands. C: The Forty Fours, wave-eroded islets composed mainly
A: Transposed, intercalated sandstone and mudstone of non-schistose sandstone, are the easternmost emergent
(Matarakau Greywacke) show incipient foliation and mineral land of New Zealand. These cliffs are a breeding site for
segregation. The outcrop is on the beach west of Kaingaroa. Bullers albatross (Thalassarche bulleri), visible in the
Photo: J.G. Begg. foreground. Photo: P.N. Johnson.
15
suggest affinities with Caples Group (Adams et al. 2008), The three formations are separated by contacts that appear
on this map Forty Fours greywacke is placed within Torlesse to be stratigraphically concordant except near Kaingaroa at
composite terrane pending further research. the Titore Fault. This southwest-dipping fault originated
as a normal fault but was later reactivated with reverse
Schist and semischist on the northern part of Chatham displacement (P. Robinson, pers. comm. 2007). Three
Island are known collectively as Chatham Schist (YTt) phases of structural development have been identified in
(Hay et al. 1970; Adams & Robinson 1977; Campbell et al. Chatham Schist. An early metamorphic foliation imposed
1993). Adams & Robinson (1977) subdivided the Chatham on bedding was deformed by the dominant Phase 2 axial-
Schist into three lithologic units in order upwards, Teraki plane foliation, commonly at a low angle to bedding.
Formation, Kaingaroa Volcanics and Matarakau Greywacke Phase 3 structures include crenulations near Point Somes
(not differentiated on this map). The predominant rock and broad warping in the northeast of the island (Adams
types are medium- to coarse-grained albite semischist and & Robinson 1977). Chatham Schist has undergone
schist, and finer-grained equivalents. Black argillaceous pumpellyite-actinolite facies metamorphism (Adams &
schist, interbedded chert (some with spessartine-grossular Robinson 1977; Josephson 1985). Rb-Sr dating suggests
garnet) and distinctive greenschist layers also occur in the that this occurred during the Early Jurassic (Adams et al.
lower two units, while Matarakau Greywacke consists 2008).
mainly of semischistose, quartzofeldspathic sandstone
and black mudstone in graded beds that generally young Chatham Schist protoliths were deposited in a deep marine
to the north (Adams & Robinson 1977; Josephson 1985; environment with reducing conditions, where black mud
Fig. 19). Matarakau Greywacke is t.z. IIA and greater, (now black argillaceous schist) was the background deposit.
based on mica sizes in thin section, and the remainder of Intermediate to mafic volcanics are represented by tuff
the Chatham Schist is t.z. IIB-III (Turnbull et al. 2001; N. and basalt layers (now greenschists). An influx of more
Mortimer, pers. comm. 2006). silicic material followed, and at the top of the section lithic
and clastic materials were derived from a metamorphic
terrain (Adams & Robinson 1977). U-Pb ages of detrital
zircons are Early to Middle Triassic, and along with the
geochemical characteristics of the rocks, indicate that
A Chatham Schist is probably part of the Torlesse Supergroup
(Adams et al. 2008). On mainland New Zealand, no part
of the Rakaia terrane has exactly the compositional or age
characteristics of Chatham Schist; therefore on this map,
Chatham Schist is placed within undifferentiated Torlesse
composite terrane.

Xenoliths of schist and greywacke occur in volcanic rocks


on The Sisters, Mangere, Star Keys and Southeast Island
(Campbell et al. 1993). A garnet-biotite schist xenolith on
Mangere Island (N. Mortimer, pers. comm. 2006) indicates
the existence at depth of higher grade schist than occurs in
outcrop on Chatham Island.

Figure 20 Rakaia terrane sandstone and mudstone


lithotypes.
A: Very thick-bedded graded sandstone with minor
mudstone, at Mannering Cliffs in the Waimakariri River.
Bedding is overturned (fining up towards left of photo).
B: Thin-bedded graded sandstone and mudstone beds
at Gorge Bridge on the Waimakariri River. Bedding at this
outcrop is normal (younging upwards).

16
Rakaia terrane rip-up fragments of grey mudstone, and comminuted leaf
and wood fragments forming carbonaceous laminations.
Permian to Late Triassic sedimentary rocks Carbonaceous mudstone and very thin coal seams,
interbedded with sandstone, occur in the Selwyn River
Grey, indurated, quartzofeldspathic sandstone and North Branch.
mudstone of the Triassic Rakaia terrane (Tt) form the
ranges in the northwest of the map area, and also crop out Three types of distinctive lithology are locally differentiated
near Gebbies Pass on Banks Peninsula. A fault-bounded on the map. Black massive mudstone horizons (Tta) are
block of Permian to Triassic Rakaia terrane (YTt) occurs typically up to 150 m thick. One such horizon at Broken
southwest of Sheffield in the Malvern Hills. Rakaia terrane River contains interbeds of fine sand and shell debris
is monotonous on a regional scale, and only a few distinctive (Andrews 1974). Mappable conglomerate lenses (Ttc) are
conglomerate, volcanic, and mudstone-rich horizons have not common and are rarely more than a few tens of metres
been differentiated on the map. thick. At Mt Binser, clasts include quartzofeldspathic
mudstone and sandstone, vein quartz, chert, and felsic
In the map area, three dominant sedimentary lithotypes volcanics, whereas in the lower Okuku River the clasts are
(facies) are recognised (Andrews et al. 1976): very mainly limestone (Botsford 1983). A basaltic volcanogenic
thick-bedded to massive sandstone, thick- to very thick- association, including chert and red or green mudstone
bedded graded sandstone with minor mudstone, and (Ttv; Fig. 22) is locally mapped either as horizons or as
thin- to medium-bedded graded sandstone and mudstone units. One such occurrence is up to 250 m thick at Red
(Fig. 20 and back cover). Younging directions have been Peak in the Torlesse Range. Some basalt exhibits pillow
determined from graded bedding, cross bedding, and load form and evidence of spilitisation. Minor chert beds (not
casts (Figs 20 and 21). Rakaia terrane sandstone is typically differentiated on the map) are scattered throughout the
poorly to moderately sorted, fine- to medium-grained, and terrane and are particularly common at Gebbies Pass,
contains lithic fragments of felsic volcanics (MacKinnon where they are interbedded with black mudstone (Sewell
1983). Sandstone beds locally include angular, unsorted et al. 1988).

A Scattered Torlessia, Titahia and Terebellina agglutinated


tube fossils indicate a Triassic, probably Late Triassic, age
for the bulk of the Rakaia terrane rocks (Tt) in the map area
(Campbell & Warren 1965; Andrews et al. 1976; Sewell et
al. 1988). The bivalves Monotis (Warepan) and Halobia
(Oretian-Warepan) in the Lees Valley-Ashley Gorge
area confirm a Late Triassic age in the east of the terrane
(Andrews et al. 1976). Permian-Triassic rocks (YTt) in the
Malvern Hills contain Permian Atomodesma (Adams et al.
2005) and Late Triassic ?Monotis (Speight 1928) fossils.
Detrital zircon ages from greywacke in the Selwyn River
are no younger than Late Permian (Adams et al. 2007).
The northwestern limit of the Permian-Triassic rocks is
placed arbitrarily at the High Peak Fault. An arbitrary
southern boundary is inferred under the Canterbury Plains
B near Rakaia (cross-section C-C), and eastern limits are
unknown.
Zones of mlange (YTv) within the Permian-Triassic rocks
of the Malvern Hills are characterised by discontinuous
lenses of deformed sandstone within pervasively sheared
mudstone (broken formation), containing scattered exotic
blocks that include basaltic volcanics, limestone, chert, and
red and green mudstone (see p. 21). The blocks are elongate
and range in length from less than 10 m to more than
1 km (Fig. 22). Boundaries between the mlange units and
adjacent Rakaia rocks are either faulted or are represented
by a gradual change in the degree of deformation.

Two depositional environments have been inferred for


Figure 21 Examples of sedimentary way-up indicators in the Rakaia terrane clastic rocks. These are large, deep
Rakaia terrane rocks.
submarine fans fed by channelised turbidity currents
A: Cross bedding in a sandstone/mudstone graded bed
at Gorge Bridge on the Waimakariri River. Grading and
(Howell 1981; MacKinnon 1983), and relatively shallow-
truncation of ripples show that the bed youngs upwards. water deltas (Andrews 1974). It is possible that both
B: Load casts at the base of a sandstone bed, on the environments existed at different times and locations
Puketeraki Range. Photo: M.S. Rattenbury. (Andrews et al. 1976).

17
Metamorphism and structure of Rakaia terrane

In adjacent QMAP sheets, Rakaia terrane rocks have been The overall structure of Rakaia terrane rocks is difficult
subdivided into several textural zones (after Bishop 1974 to resolve due to a general lack of marker horizons, poor
and Turnbull et al. 2001). In the Canterbury part of the age control, multiple folding events and widespread faults
map area, all Rakaia terrane rocks are t.z. I. Slaty cleavage and shear zones. Formlines on the map illustrate the
and fracture cleavage are locally developed in finer grained generalised orientations of bedding. Despite considerable
lithologies, especially near mesoscale fold hinges. Burial local variations, bedding most commonly strikes northwest.
and deformation have metamorphosed Rakaia terrane Notable exceptions include the Torlesse Range where the
rocks to prehnite-pumpellyite facies, although lower grade strike is northeast and the Selwyn River North Branch
(zeolite facies) rocks occur in the Ashley River gorge where the rocks strike south. Strikes in the Permian-
area and around the upper Kowai Bridge near Porters Triassic rocks (YTt) are variable and generally discordant
Pass (MacKinnon 1980; Adams 2003; Fig. 23). Regional with those in adjacent Triassic rocks (Tt). Everywhere, the
metamorphism affected much of the Rakaia terrane by the dip of bedding is generally steep (between 60 and 90).
Jurassic (Adams 2003; Adams & Maas 2004).

Figure 22 Minor lithologies within the


Rakaia terrane.
A: Fluted limestone exotic block in mlange,
on Limestone Saddle in the Lady Barker
Range, Malvern Hills.
Photo: D.B. Townsend.
B: Bedded and folded red chert on the
northern side of Nomans Land, near Winding
Creek in the upper Waimakariri area.
Photo: G.S. Leonard.
C: Interlayered basaltic volcanics and chert
A
on Red Peak, Torlesse Range.

B C

18
N

METAMORPHIC MINERAL ISOGRAD


zeolite out
METAMORPHIC ZONE
prehnite-pumpellyite
zeolite

0 10 20

Kilometres

Figure 23 Metamorphic facies within rocks of the Torlesse composite terrane in Canterbury.

In some places, reversals in the younging directions of the Jurassic sedimentary and igneous rocks
strata define macroscopic folds, even though the fold hinges
are rarely exposed. Smaller (mesoscopic) associated folds Near Mt Pember, on the Puketeraki Range, and at the
are not uncommon (back cover). These folds are generally southwest end of Lees Valley, small stocks and dikes of
tight and gently to moderately plunging. Multiple Pember Diorite (Jtd) intrude Triassic Rakaia terrane rocks
generations of deformation are evident in the Waimakariri (Fig. 24). Pember Diorite is a microdiorite consisting
(Otarama) Gorge. Near Otarama, an inverted syncline primarily of plagioclase, pyroxene, amphibole and biotite,
attests to at least two phases of deformation while near Mt with accessory quartz and K-feldspar. Ar-Ar dating of the
Rosa, tight macroscopic folds have been refolded about amphiboles indicates an Early Jurassic age of intrusion
steeply-plunging axes. In the Malvern Hills, the timing (Jongens et al. in press). Like the surrounding Rakaia
of tight folding (and metamorphism) of Permian-Triassic terrane, the Pember Diorite is metamorphosed to prehnite-
Rakaia terrane rocks is constrained by an unconformable pumpellyite facies.
cover of relatively undeformed Middle Jurassic rocks (see
below). The Jurassic Wakaepa Formation (Jtw; after Speight
1928) is exposed in the Malvern Hills southwest of
Zones of intensely sheared greywacke along faults (crush Sheffield. The formation comprises brown-grey, fine to
zones) are in some places wide enough to be shown on coarse sandstone interbedded with carbonaceous mudstone,
the map. A notable example is along the Townshend and thick conglomerate, and thin coal lenses. Plant stems
Glentui faults, where a 250 m-wide crush zone preferentially and leaf fossils are abundant within the sandstone and
follows a band of red and green mudstone (Cowan 1992). mudstone (Fig. 25). The conglomerates, which are up to
19
60 m thick, consist of well-rounded to subangular Rakaia- metamorphism has imparted a moderate induration, less
type sandstone and siltstone clasts, with sparse granite than that of adjacent prehnite-pumpellyite facies Rakaia
and red chert clasts (Speight 1928). The sandstone matrix terrane rocks. Boundaries with older rocks are interpreted
crumbles when weathered. Plant fossils include the ferns as faults, except near Flagpole Stream where a basal
Cladophlebis and Coniopteris, cycad-like Taeniopteris, unconformity is indicated (Speight 1928). The Wakaepa
and the conifer Elatocladus (Arber 1917) that are typical Formation represents a cover sequence deposited on
of, but not restricted to, the Jurassic (E. M. Kennedy pers. deformed and exhumed Rakaia terrane rocks (MacKinnon
comm. 2008). Spores and pollen indicate a Middle Jurassic 1983; Adams 2003).
age (J.I. Raine, unpublished data 2006). Deposition most
likely occurred in a terrestrial environment. Pahau terrane

Wakaepa Formation beds are gently to moderately dipping Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous sedimentary rocks
(<60) and are less deformed than adjacent, steeply dipping,
Permian-Triassic Rakaia terrane rocks. Zeolite facies The Pahau terrane (Ktp) underlies only a small part of this
map, and crops out in the cores of Late Cenozoic anticlines
between Waipara River North Branch and Motunau Beach.
Like the Rakaia terrane, Pahau terrane consists of grey,
indurated, quartzofeldspathic sandstone and mudstone,
but is younger (Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous). Pahau
terrane sandstone is typically poorly to moderately sorted,
fine- to medium-grained, and contains a higher percentage
of sedimentary and felsic volcanic lithic fragments than
Rakaia terrane sandstone (MacKinnon 1983). Pahau
sandstones are generally slightly lighter in colour, slightly
less indurated, and have a more sugary appearance than
similar low-grade Rakaia terrane sandstone. Sedimentary
lithotypes in the map area include very thick-bedded to
massive sandstone, and lesser amounts of more thinly
bedded, graded, fine sandstone and mudstone (Nicol 1991).
The massive sandstone lithotype is traceable over several
kilometres. The areas of other rock types, such as minor
basaltic volcanics and red chert, are too small to show on
Figure 24 Typical fine- to medium-grained texture of this map. The graded sandstone and mudstone lithotype
Pember Diorite in a polished hand specimen from a dike at may contain sparse calcareous concretions and slightly
the southwestern end of Lees Valley.
calcareous horizons. Dolomitic limestone beds occur east
of the Waipara River North Branch (Nicol 1991). Thick
basaltic volcanics and conglomerate mapped in the adjacent
Kaikoura sheet (Rattenbury et al. 2006) are not known in
the Christchurch map area.

Fossils are sparsely distributed in the Pahau terrane


(Andrews et al. 1976), and none have been identified in
the map area. Immediately north of the map sheet, in the
Hurunui and Kaiwara rivers, macrofauna are considered
Late Jurassic (Campbell & Warren 1965; Speden 1975), and
dinoflagellates give mixed Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous
ages (Wilson 1984; Wilson & Helby 1988). U-Pb zircon
ages from conglomerate clasts at Ethelton, 15 km north of
the map area and close to the Hurunui fossils, indicate an
Early Cretaceous age for the source rocks (Wandres et al.
2004a). Further northwest, spores and pollen in the Pahau
River are Early Cretaceous (Raine 1977).

Depositional environments of the Pahau terrane, like


the Rakaia terrane, have been interpreted as deep water
submarine fans (Johnston 1990; Reay 1993) and shallow
Figure 25 Fragments of the fern Cladophlebis in fine
water marine fan-deltas (Bassett & Orlowski 2004). It is
sandstone of the mid-Jurassic Wakaepa Formation. The likely that both environments may have been present at
specimen is from an outcrop east of the Selwyn River in the different locations and at different times (Andrews et al.
Malvern Hills near Whitecliffs. Photo: M. Terezow. 1976).

20
Broken formation, mlange, exotic blocks and knockers

The amount of deformation within the Esk Head belt varies greatly according to the style of tectonism and
differences in the competence of the rocks.

Sequences of alternating bedded sandstone and mudstone are particularly susceptible to tectonic shearing,
because the mudstone layers are weaker and deform more easily. The resulting deformed rock consists of
discontinuous lozenges of sandstone enveloped in sheared mudstone. Where there is still a sense of sedimentary
continuity, such rocks are termed broken formation (Fig. 26). Greater intensities of deformation lead to isolated
sandstone blocks oriented chaotically within a sheared mudstone matrix. Where exotic blocks are present, the
rock is referred to as mlange.

Exotic blocks are rocks that formed in different locations from those of their enclosing rocks. The commonest
example in Torlesse rocks is that of deep ocean floor rocks (submarine basalt, foraminiferal limestone, radiolarian
chert, and red or green mudstone) that have been tectonically incorporated within continent-margin sediments
(quartzofeldspathic sandstone and mudstone).

In mlange (for example, within the Esk Head belt) the block and mudstone matrix texture is seen at all scales
typically, mudstone-rich mlange containing pebble-size blocks anastomoses around metre-size blocks. At
the largest scale, Botsford (1983) maps mlange anastomosing around relatively intact, interbedded sandstone/
mudstone rafts up to several hundred metres across. Characteristic hummocky or knocker topography may
develop where erosion of the softer mudstone matrix leaves the more resistant blocks standing above the general
land surface (Fig. 26).

Metamorphism and structure of Pahau terrane The Esk Head belt consists mainly of highly deformed
quartzofeldspathic sedimentary rocks metamorphosed
In the map area, the textural grade of Pahau terrane rocks is to zeolite facies (Fig. 23; Botsford 1983). Very thick to
t.z. I and their metamorphic grade is zeolite facies (Fig. 23; massive sandstone and thin- to medium-bedded sandstone
Nicol 1991). Bedding generally dips steeply and strikes and mudstone are the main lithotypes and are very similar
northwest, as illustrated by formlines on the map. Two to those seen in Pahau and Rakaia terranes. Minor
phases of pre-Late Cretaceous folding are evident: one conglomerate is also present. Basalt, some with pillow
large-scale and plunging gently to the northwest (Wilson structure, is by far the most common exotic lithology,
1963) or southeast (Nicol & Wise 1992), and the other, followed by chert and relatively rare limestone and red
smaller scale and steeply plunging (Nicol & Wise 1992). mudstone (Silberling et al. 1988). Minor tuff and volcanic
These phases of folding occurred before deposition of the breccia are associated with basalt. Exotic blocks vary
overlying Late Cretaceous and younger sedimentary rocks widely in size: pebble-size clasts, 1 to 10 m blocks, and
(Nicol & Wise 1992). volcanic slivers 300 m long (Botsford 1983). In some
exotic blocks, limestone, chert, and red mudstone are in
Esk Head belt depositional contact with basalt, suggesting that these
exotic lithologies are derived from oceanic sea floor and/or
Late Triassic to Early Cretaceous sedimentary and seamounts (Silberling et al. 1988). The structural grain of
volcanic rocks the Esk Head belt strikes southeast and dips steeply. Intact
bedding, broken formation shear fabric, and mlange fabric
Between the relatively well-bedded Pahau and Rakaia are subparallel (Botsford 1983).
terranes is a zone of more sheared rocks, the Esk Head
belt (Te; after Begg & Johnston 2000). The zone has also Fossils in the Esk Head mlange unit vary from Late
been referred to as the Esk Head subterrane (Bradshaw Triassic to Late Jurassic in age. The oldest fossils found
et al. 1981; Silberling et al. 1988), incorporating the Esk are within exotic blocks. Limestone in the Okuku River has
Head Mlange of Bradshaw (1973). On the western side, yielded the bivalve Monotis and the conodont Gondolella
and making up the majority of the belt in the map area, is steinbergensis, both of Late Triassic age (Silberling et
a mlange (Tem) consisting of highly deformed, bedded al. 1988). Similar limestone blocks with bivalves and
sandstone and mudstone with exotic blocks and slivers conodonts occur on the Pancake Range. Radiolaria in a
of basaltic volcanics, chert, and limestone. The mlange chert block at Brothers Station also indicate a Late Triassic
is up to 11 km wide and contains a greater abundance of age (Silberling et al. 1988). Spores and pollen from bedded
mudstone and exotic material than the Pahau and Rakaia siltstone in the upper south branch of the Waipara River are
terranes (MacKinnon 1983). East of the mlange, the Esk probably of Early to Middle Jurassic age (M34/f14022 ; J.I.
Head belt is gradational into Pahau terrane and consists of Raine unpublished data 1982). The Late Jurassic ammonite
less deformed bedded sandstone/mudstone lithotypes (Te) Idoceras speighti was found in a boulder in the Karetu
and minor zones of highly disrupted rock. Exotic blocks River (M34/f8565; Speden 1975), and a latest Jurassic
of basalt and related red mudstone (Tev) are comparatively
rare. 2
Locality from the New Zealand Fossil Record File

21
A C

Figure 26 Esk Head belt broken formation and mlange.


A & B: Broken formation is a common texture in the Esk Head belt, and results from layer-parallel shearing in thin-
to medium-bedded sandstone and mudstone. The sandstone has been boudinaged into discontinuous lozenges and
enveloped in sheared mudstone. A is from Birdseye Road, Ashley Forest, and B is from Okuku Pass.
C: Blocks of sandstone in a highly sheared mudstone matrix on the Pancake Range, close to the southern edge of the Esk
Head belt. As it includes exotic blocks nearby, this rock is a mlange.
D: Knocker topography associated with Esk Head belt rocks on the Pancake Range. The dark outcrop just beyond the
figure consists of basaltic volcanic rock.

22
Figure 27 Distinctive cavernously weathered outcrops of Gebbies Rhyolite near Gebbies Pass, Banks Peninsula.
Photo CN21060/18: D.L. Homer.

belemnite Belemnopsis aucklandica has been recorded in Late Cretaceous rocks


a boulder in the Okuku River just north of the map sheet
(M33/f8519; McKellar et al. 1962; Bradshaw 1973). Both Mount Somers Volcanics Group comprises intermediate
boulders are probably derived from the mlange. No fossils to silicic volcanic rocks which crop out along the western
have been found in the remainder of the belt east of the margin of the Canterbury Plains and on Banks Peninsula.
mlange, but this may be as young as Early Cretaceous as In the Christchurch map area, rhyolite and andesite occur
indicated by fossiliferous Esk Head rocks north of the map in the Malvern Hills, in the Gebbies and McQueens valleys
area (Johnston 1990; Rattenbury et al. 2006). on Banks Peninsula, and in the J.D. George-1 drillhole
near Ashburton. Mount Somers Volcanics Group rocks
LATE CRETACEOUS TO PLIOCENE ROCKS OF unconformably overlie Rakaia terrane basement.
CANTERBURY
At Mt Misery in the Malvern Hills, flow-banded porphyritic
The Cretaceous-Cenozoic sedimentary rocks of Canterbury rhyolite (Kmr), apparently extruded as domes, has been
constitute a transgressive-regressive megasequence, dated as 91.30.6 Ma (K-Ar; Adams & Oliver 1979;
the Kaikoura Synthem of Carter (1988), which is termed Tappenden 2003). Small rhyolite dikes cut Rakaia terrane
a first-order cycle by King et al. (1999). This sequence rocks northwest of Mt Misery. Porphyritic and lithic-rich
unconformably overlies Torlesse composite terrane ignimbrite (Kmi) consists of several flows, possibly with
basement rocks. The transgressive-regressive succession is some associated andesitic lava flows or dikes. Ignimbrite
punctuated by a number of unconformities, caused by local at Rakaia Gorge, west of the Christchurch map area,
and regional tectonic activity, eustatic sea level changes, has yielded ages of 94.80.7 Ma (K-Ar; Adams 1979),
sediment starvation and/or changes to ocean currents. The 94.20.8 Ma (Ar-Ar; Tappenden 2003) and 971.5 Ma
oldest sedimentary rocks above the basement in Canterbury (SHRIMP; Tappenden 2003). Despite these older ages,
are Late Cretaceous terrestrial deposits. A major marine field relations suggest that ignimbrite generally overlies
transgression began at about 80 Ma (Haumurian) and rhyolite (Tappenden 2003).
culminated in the maximum inundation of the New Zealand
landmass in the Oligocene, when a condensed section of On Banks Peninsula, McQueens Andesite (Kma) crops
generally calcareous rocks was deposited. Regressive out in a small area at the head of McQueens Valley, and
sedimentation in Canterbury began in the Late Oligocene, consists of dark grey to black, vesicular, andesitic lava
when shallow marine deposits passed upward, with flows, volcanic breccia, and rare tuff (Sewell et al. 1988;
increasing amounts of terrigenous sediment, into thick, Tappenden 2003). Lava flows 210 metres thick are
non-marine clastic deposits. Volcanic episodes occurred separated by breccia. McQueens Andesite has an Ar-Ar age
during the Late Cretaceous, Early Eocene, Oligocene, and of 912.6 Ma (Tappenden 2003). Gebbies Rhyolite (Kmr)
Late Miocene. consists of brown to grey, vesicular, flow banded rhyolite,
with minor dacite and pitchstone, and forms cavernously
23
weathered outcrops that mark the eroded remnants of Latest Cretaceous to Early Oligocene rocks
lava domes (Sewell et al. 1988; Tappenden 2003; Fig.
27). Associated siltstone, sandstone and carbonaceous The base of the Eyre Group sedimentary succession consists
mudstone plant beds are exposed southwest of Gebbies of quartzose fluvial deposits that accumulated on river
Pass (Sewell et al. 1988). Together with conglomerate in a plains, in swamps and in estuaries. The overlying marine,
drillhole at Charteris Bay (Field, Browne et al. 1989), they quartzose sandstone, mudstone, greensand, calcareous
are included with Gebbies Rhyolite on this map. mudstone and limestone were deposited in environments
that ranged from shoreface to outer shelf (Field, Browne
Gebbies Rhyolite overlies McQueens Andesite at the head et al. 1989; King et al. 1999). The sedimentary rocks have
of McQueens Valley, but elsewhere rests unconformably been described under many formation names (Fig. 29).
on Rakaia terrane rocks, and was probably extruded from Details of individual formations, lateral facies changes
several vents. Barley et al. (1988) consider that Gebbies and unconformities within the Eyre Group are provided
Rhyolite is not genetically related to McQueens Andesite, by Newman & Bradshaw (1981), Browne & Field (1985),
but probably represents magma produced from Torlesse Andrews et al. (1987) and Morgans et al. (2005). In
sedimentary rocks. Inherited zircons in the rhyolite support the QMAP Christchurch area, Eyre Group ranges in age
this interpretation (Tappenden 2003). from Late Cretaceous (Haumurian) to Early Oligocene
(Whaingaroan).
The J.D. George-1 drillhole encountered hard porphyritic
andesite at 1431 m, passing downwards into rhyolite, and Eyre Group rocks rest unconformably on Torlesse composite
ending at 1647 m in fine dark grey andesite (Wood 1969). terrane or Mount Somers Volcanics Group rocks, apart
These igneous rocks are correlated with Mount Somers from a few localities in the Malvern Hills where Monro
Volcanics Group. Conglomerate intervenes. Eyre Group is extensively
exposed at the western margin of the Canterbury Plains
Monro Conglomerate (Kem) is discontinuously exposed and to a lesser extent in the inland basins. There are a
in the Malvern Hills, where it overlies rhyolite (Mount few outcrops near the head of Lyttelton Harbour, and Eyre
Somers Volcanics Group) or rocks of the Rakaia terrane. Group rocks have also been encountered in stratigraphic
The lower part of the formation, about 70 m thick, consists drillholes and petroleum exploration wells.
of conglomerate and pebbly mudstone with rounded
rhyolite clasts (Fig. 28), while the upper part contains more The lowermost Eyre Group unit is the largely non-marine
fine-grained material (sandstone and mudstone with minor Broken River Formation (lKb), consisting of pale grey
coal lenses) and greywacke clasts. This part is poorly quartzose sandstone, carbonaceous mudstone and claystone,
exposed it may be as much as 880 m thick (Andrews with minor conglomerate and coal seams near the base (Fig.
et al. 1987) although at Rakaia Gorge, to the west of the 30). It is commonly about 40 m thick but reaches 200 m in
map area, the whole formation is only about 200 m thick the Whitecliffs area (Andrews et al. 1987) and 240 m in the
(Cox 1926; Cox & Barrell 2007). Monro Conglomerate mid-Waipara section (Morgans et al. 2005). Coal seams
is interpreted as a localised braided-river deposit filling rarely exceed 5 m in thickness.
a fault-angle depression (Andrews et al. 1987; Mathews
1989) and fossil pollen dates it as middle Late Cretaceous In the southwestern part of the Canterbury range front,
(Teratan-Piripauan; Field, Browne et al. 1989). Broken River Formation is conformably overlain by

Figure 28 Float boulder


of Monro Conglomerate
near Cairn Hill in the
Malvern Hills. The matrix is
feldspathic, and the clasts
include Torlesse rocks and
Mount Somers Volcanics
Group rhyolite. These
features help to distinguish
Monro Conglomerate
from conglomerates in the
Rakaia terrane and the
Broken River Formation.
Photo: J.G. Begg.

24
NW SW NE

Mt Grey area

Waipara area
Malvern Hills
Broken River

Oxford area
Esk River

Burnt Hill

Motunau
Glentui
Avoca
0
1.8
Pleist.
Kowai
Plio. Kowai Formation Greta Fmn.
Fmn.
5.3
Greta
Coalgate Bentonite*

Motunau Group
Fmn.*
Brechin Harper Hills Basalt Oxford Basalt* Burnt
Miocene

Fmn. Hill Tokama


Wairiri Bluff Basalt* Group Siltstone* Mt Brown
Volcaniclastite* Sandpit Tuff* Formation*
Chalk Hill Clay* (Whiterock Lst.*)
Chalk Quarry Sst.*
Waikari Formation*
24
Omihi Omihi Formation
Omihi Fmn.
Oligocene

Thomas Fmn. (Berrydale Grnsnd*) (Weka Pass Stone*)


Fmn.
Amuri L. Amuri
Amuri Lst. Amuri Limestone
34 Esk Formation Lst.
Feary Greensand*

Karetu Sandstone*
Iron Homebush Sandstone*
Eocene

Creek
Green- Ashley Mudstone*
sand*

View Hill Volcanics

Eyre Group
56
Paleocene

Charteris Waipara Greensand*


Charteris Waipara Greensand* Bay
Bay
Sandstone*
Sst.* Loburn Mudstone*
65

Conway Formation

Broken River Formation


Late Cretaceous

Monro Conglomerate

Mount Somers Volcanics Group


100
Early Cretaceous
and older

Torlesse composite terrane

Figure 29 Cretaceous and Cenozoic stratigraphy of northwestern and northeastern parts of the Christchurch map area.
The diagram highlights periods of deposition (coloured) in relation to times of non-deposition or subsequent erosion (grey
background). Previous work has established a large number of formation names (as well as selected members shown in
parentheses). The stratigraphic units marked with asterisks are not differentiated on the map.
After Browne & Field (1985), Andrews et al. (1987) and Field, Browne et al. (1989).

25
A

B
D

C E

Figure 30 Eyre Group sedimentary and volcanic rocks.


A: Broken River Formation coal-bearing quartzose sandstone and claystone, on the north bank of Broken River near the
junction with Winding Creek.
B: Conway Formation silty sandstone with distinctive yellowish weathering and scattered large concretions, in Birds Eye
Stream, Waipara River South Branch.
C: Quartzose Charteris Bay Sandstone in a quarry face at Orton Bradley Park on Banks Peninsula.
Photo CN20891/36: D.L. Homer.
D: A block of basaltic pillow lava within tuffaceous sediments in the lower part of the Esk Formation. Exposure in the
Brechin Burn tributary of the Esk River in the upper Waimakariri area.
E: Amuri Limestone in the Brechin Burn contains invertebrate burrows (Thalassinoides) filled from above with glauconitic
sandstone; the radiating pattern above the hammer head is a Zoophycos trace fossil.

26
marine, dark grey, massive sandy siltstone and sandstone and includes interbedded basaltic flows, pillow lava, tuff,
of the Conway Formation (lKc), dated by dinoflagellates mudstone, sandstone, limestone and rare volcanic breccia.
as Late Cretaceous (Upper Haumurian; Wilson et al. 2005). It also includes a dolerite intrusion near Coalgate. View Hill
Its characteristic spherical concretions (Fig. 30) contain Volcanics are part of the Eyre Group, with marine fossils
marine reptile bones and other macrofossils (Andrews et al. indicating an Early Eocene age (Waipawan to Heretaungan;
1987). In the northeastern part of the map, Late Cretaceous Andrews et al. 1987).
Eyre Group rocks have been combined as lKe.
The uppermost unit of the Eyre Group in the Canterbury
The overlying marine sedimentary rocks of the Eyre Group foothills is Amuri Limestone (Oea). It is a distinctive
at the Canterbury range front are of Paleocene and Eocene and typically hard, pale grey, thinly bedded, fine-grained
age. Dark grey, concretionary, silty sandstone (at the base), limestone. Oxford Chalk is a local and less cemented facies
greensand, and pale grey, glauconitic quartzose sandstone (van der Lingen et al. 1978; Andrews et al. 1987). The
are mapped as Pe. Above these lies pale grey, burrowed uppermost part of Amuri Limestone commonly contains
quartzose sandstone with minor greensand at the top near invertebrate burrows infilled with material from the
Oxford (Ee). Along the central and northern parts of overlying Omihi Formation. Although Amuri Limestone is
the range front, these rocks and their lateral correlatives, of Paleocene to Eocene age further north (Rattenbury et al.
including significant mudstone, are combined on the map 2006), in the Christchurch map area it is Early Oligocene
as PEe. Formation names are summarised in Fig. 29. in age (Whaingaroan; Andrews et al. 1987; Field, Browne
et al. 1989).
View Hill Volcanics (Eev) crop out in the Eyre River-
Oxford area and near Coalgate, and are also known from the In the inland Canterbury basins, the most extensive exposures
Leeston-1 and Resolution-1 wells (Gregg 1964; McLennan of Eyre Group are in the Broken River, Avoca and Esk
1981; Andrews et al. 1987). This formation consists of River areas. Broken River Formation (lKb) is succeeded
shallow marine sedimentary as well as volcanic rocks, by marine rocks including fine, glauconitic, quartzose

Figure 31 The Weka Pass area of northern Canterbury is dominated by limestone dip slopes and escarpments. The
prominent white cliff is sandy limestone of the Omihi Formation, the lowest unit of the Motunau Group. The more distant
ridge is mapped as undifferentiated Motunau Group, which here consists mainly of Mt Brown Formation. Weka Creek
(foreground) cuts into the underlying Eyre Group sedimentary rocks and Pahau terrane greywacke.
Photo CN14433/6: D.L. Homer.

27
sandstone that grades upwards into dark greensand (PEe).
A
Esk Formation (Oee) glauconitic fine sandstone (locally
cross-bedded) and sandy siltstone unconformably overlie
older Eyre Group or Torlesse rocks (Newman & Bradshaw
1981; McLennan & Bradshaw 1984). The unconformity is
marked by a basal conglomerate in places. In the Brechin
Burn, Esk Formation is associated with basaltic pillow
breccia, tuff and a stock (Oev). The youngest Eyre Group
unit in the inland basins is pale grey, fine-grained, burrowed
limestone which is correlated with the widespread Amuri
Limestone (Oea; Fig. 30).

On Banks Peninsula, Broken River Formation is known


only from a drillhole at Charteris Bay. The rest of the Eyre
Group, exposed in a few places nearby, consists of quartzose
sandstone that is locally glauconitic with thin beds of
mudstone, tuffaceous sandstone and gritty sandstone (PEe; B
Sewell et al. 1988).

At the top of the Eyre Group, one or more unconformities


mark time gaps of several million years (Andrews et al.
1987). For example, the bored and phosphatised surface that
commonly separates Amuri Limestone from the overlying
Omihi Formation represents a 3-million-year time gap.
Elsewhere, the unconformity is developed on older Eyre
Group rocks and may represent a period of 5 to 10 million
years. The unconformities in this part of the succession
have been referred to as the Marshall Paraconformity
(Carter & Landis 1972), but Lever (2007) regards this as an
oversimplification and recommends abandoning the term.

At Avoca, the Thomas Formation (Ot) consists of


carbonate-cemented basaltic tuff intruded by dikes and
sills of similar composition (McLennan 1981). Just west
of the map area in Castle Hill basin, Thomas Formation
is predominantly limestone. Marine microfossils give an
Oligocene (Whaingaroan-Duntroonian) age. Gage (1970)
inferred that Thomas Formation is conformable on the
underlying Eyre Group. C

A small plug of olivine nephelinite (Ov) occurs beside


a fault at Mounseys Creek, on the range front north of
the Eyre River near View Hill. Its age is 30 Ma (K-Ar;
McLennan & Weaver 1984) but its geochemical affinities
are unknown.

Late Oligocene to Pliocene rocks

Motunau Group sedimentary rocks are laterally variable


and have been previously mapped under several formation
names (Fig. 29). These rocks are widespread in northern
Canterbury and beneath the mid-Canterbury plains (see
Section C-C), but in the inland basins are restricted to
small infaulted outliers. Motunau Group marks a period Figure 32 Motunau Group sedimentary rocks.
of mainly shallow marine sedimentation that culminated in A: Greywacke-clast conglomerate and sandstone of
marine regression. In the Christchurch map area, it ranges Brechin Formation dips 65 southeast at this outcrop in the
Esk River (upper Waimakariri area).
in age from Late Oligocene (Duntroonian) to Late Pliocene
B: Silty fine sandstone of Greta Formation, northeast of
(Nukumaruan; Browne & Field 1985). Motunau Beach, shows very large-scale trough cross-
bedding.
Much of the Motunau Group is undifferentiated on the map, C: Siltstone, mudstone and lignite within Kowai Formation
but some formations are shown where exposure and map at Okuku River near Whiterock.

28
scale allow. Undifferentiated Motunau Group (Mn) includes Sewell (1988): Lyttelton (119.7 Ma), Mt Herbert (9.7
blue-grey, calcareous, sandy siltstone; brown, calcareous 8.0 Ma), Akaroa (9.08.0 Ma), and Diamond Harbour
sandstone (locally with limestone or minor fossiliferous (7.05.8 Ma). Most comprise basalts, andesites or
greywacke-clast conglomerate); and grey calcareous, trachytes, with many varieties identified on the basis of
glauconitic, sandy siltstone. Along the Canterbury range their geochemical composition (Fig. 33). The un-grouped
front the basal unit of Motunau Group is Omihi Formation Allandale Rhyolite and Governors Bay Andesite preceded
(Onl), which consists of hard, glauconitic sandy limestone the main Lyttelton volcano, although they may represent
in the Waipara area (Weka Pass Stone; Fig. 31) and an early phase of Lyttelton volcanism (Barley et al. 1988).
calcareous greensand further southwest (Andrews 1963; Mt Herbert Group represents the transition from Lyttelton to
Browne & Field 1985; Andrews et al. 1987). In the inland Akaroa volcanism, and Diamond Harbour Group comprises
basins, Brechin Formation (Mne) mainly comprises the youngest volcanic rocks on Banks Peninsula.
fluvial conglomerate with greywacke clasts, with some
gabbro-clast conglomerate, marine sandstone and minor Allandale Rhyolite (Mvr) comprises flow-banded
carbonaceous mudstone near the base (Newman & porphyritic rhyolite and dacite lava flows, and domes
Bradshaw 1981; Fig. 32). In the upper part of Motunau (Sewell et al. 1988). Rhyolite breccias are locally exposed
Group, Pliocene-age Greta Formation (^ng) consists of around the bases of eroded domes, and rare tuffs are
blue-grey, fine sandy siltstone, mudstone and minor debris- interbedded with lava flows. Flow-banded obsidian is a
flow conglomerate, and is the lateral equivalent of the minor component. Allandale Rhyolite crops out in Charteris
more widespread Kowai Formation further west and south. Bay, Governors Bay, on Quail Island, and on the Summit
Some concretions within the upper part of Motunau Group Road near Gebbies Pass. Barley et al. (1988) obtained an
in northern Canterbury contain well-preserved fossils of Rb-Sr age of 10.8 0.1 Ma. Governors Bay Andesite
crabs and lobsters (Feldmann et al. 2006). (Mvg) is genetically related to and conformably overlies
Allandale Rhyolite (Sewell et al. 1988). It consists of flow-
Brown, weathered, greywacke-clast conglomerate banded porphyritic andesitic lava flows, and is exposed on
with interbedded sandstone, siltstone, mudstone and the shores of Lyttelton Harbour, particularly at Governors
carbonaceous layers more common near the base (Kowai Bay.
Formation, ^k; Fig. 32) occurs widely in central and
northern Canterbury. The entire formation was penetrated Lyttelton Volcanic Group (Mvl) consists predominantly
in the J.D. George-1 well, where it is 650 m thick, and of basaltic to trachytic lava flows interbedded with breccia
similar thicknesses occur in other drillholes and sections and tuff, and lava domes (Sewell & Weaver 1990; Fig.
(Andrews et al. 1987). In many places the lower part is 34). These rocks rest unconformably on various older
marine with scattered shellbeds. Shallow water macrofauna units (Sewell et al. 1988), including Rakaia terrane,
give Pliocene ages at Kowai River and the Kowai-1 well, Mount Somers Volcanics Group, Allandale Rhyolite and
with some Late Miocene ages at Resolution-1 (Andrews et Governors Bay Andesite. A minimum volume of 350 km3
al. 1987). of lava was erupted from Lyttelton Volcano, based on a
diameter of 35 km and an original height of 1500 m (Sewell
Burnt Hill Group occurs in the Oxford and Harper Hills et al. 1992). Numerous radial dikes cut the volcanic cone,
areas, and on Banks Peninsula. It overlies Eyre Group, and some of which fed parasitic domes on its flanks (Shelley
is laterally equivalent to part of Motunau Group (Andrews et 1988); only some are mapped. Shelley (1987) identified
al. 1987). Burnt Hill Group is Miocene in age and consists two eruptive centres, but recent analysis of dike and lava
of basaltic flows and volcaniclastic rocks, interbedded with flow orientations led Hampton & Cole (2008) to conclude
sedimentary rocks. Harper Hills Basalt (Muv) consists that Lyttelton Volcano is more complex than was previously
of up to three dark grey basaltic flows, the oldest and most thought, with 15 eruptive centres.
extensive of which is 15 m thick (Carlson et al. 1980). The
remainder of the group basalt breccia, flows and tuff, Mt Herbert Volcanic Group (Mvh) includes basaltic lava
feldspathic sandstone and minor smectitic claystone is flows and plugs, with minor interbedded volcaniclastic
shown as undifferentiated (Muu). Near Coalgate, Harper conglomerate, sandstone, siltstone, carbonaceous mudstone,
Hills Basalt is disconformably overlain by smectitic clay and tuff (Fig. 34). These rocks form a significant part of
interpreted as a freshwater deposit (Coalgate Bentonite; central Banks Peninsula, and represent the locus of volcanic
Carlson & Rodgers 1974). On Banks Peninsula, Bradley activity moving from Lyttelton toward Akaroa (Sewell
Sandstone (Mub) consists of white quartzose sandstone, 1988). A pollen assemblage from intercalated siltstone and
slightly carbonaceous or pebbly in places (Sewell et al. mudstone has yielded a Late Miocene age (Tongaporutuan;
1988). It is exposed only at Charteris Bay. Sewell et al. 1988).

Igneous rocks of Banks Peninsula Akaroa Volcanic Group (Mva) mainly comprises basaltic
to trachytic lava flows with some intercalated tuff and
Banks Peninsula forms the largest accumulation of pyroclastic breccia, forming the eastern part of Banks
Cenozoic volcanic rocks in the South Island. It consists Peninsula, and centred on Akaroa Harbour (Sewell &
of Late Miocene rocks erupted from two large overlapping Weaver 1990). Several formations have been identified,
volcanoes (Lyttelton and Akaroa) with many minor including a trachyte dome on the western side of Akaroa
vents. Four volcanic groups are mapped, following Harbour. Onawe peninsula, at the head of the harbour, is

29
30
16 Diamond Harbour Volcanic Group
Na2O+K2O Akaroa Volcanic Group
Mt Herbert Volcanic Group
14 Lyttelton Volcanic Group
trachyte Allandale Rhyolite and
sodic alkaline association Governors Bay Andesite
12
benmoreite

10
mugearite
hawaiite
8

n e p h e li n
6

it e
subalkaline association

basanite and basanitoid


4

2
alkali transitional basaltic andesite dacite rhyolite
basalt basalt andesite SiO2
wt%
44 46 48 50 52 54 56 58 60 62 64 66 68 70 72 74 76 78

Figure 33 Miocene igneous rocks on Banks Peninsula are subdivided according to their geochemical composition. Names are assigned on the basis of analytical data such as the ratio
of alkalis (sodium plus potassium) to silica. This plot shows rock types in the sodic alkaline (above solid line) and subalkaline associations. After Sewell et al. (1992).
A B

D
C
Figure 34 Banks Peninsula volcanic rocks.
A: Castle Rock, on the Port Hills above the Heathcote
Valley, is a well-known landmark and rock climbing area. It
is the remains of a trachyte dome within Lyttelton Volcanic
Group. Photo CN25139/22: D. L. Homer.
B: The Remarkable Dikes, part of the Lyttelton radial dike
swarm, intrude Lyttelton Volcanic Group rocks near Kaituna
Pass (south of Lyttelton Harbour).
Photo CN25063/20: D. L. Homer.
C: Tuffaceous lake beds occur within Mt Herbert Volcanic
Group at Orton Bradley Park. This material was deposited
in a crater lake by basaltic base surges.
Photo CN25540/14: D.L. Homer.
D: A vent plug of Stoddart Basalt (Diamond Harbour Volcanic
Group) at the Halswell quarry shows well-developed sheet
jointing. Photo CN20883/6: D.L. Homer.
E: Many dikes of Akaroa Volcanic Group are visible around
the shoreline of Akaroa Harbour. In these examples at
E Onawe peninsula, the chilled margin shows as a light-
coloured selvage. Photo CN21182/10: D.L. Homer.

31
near the centre of a radial dike swarm and hosts syenite and MID-CRETACEOUS TO PLEISTOCENE ROCKS
minor gabbro intrusions (Mva) (Sewell & Weaver 1990). OF THE CHATHAM ISLANDS
Numerous dikes are exposed on the shoreline of Akaroa
Harbour (Fig. 34; Smith 1972), only some of which can be The oldest sedimentary rocks overlying the basement in the
shown on the map. Chatham Islands are middle Cretaceous terrestrial deposits.
A significant volcanic episode in the Late Cretaceous was
Diamond Harbour Volcanic Group (Mvd) rocks are followed by marine transgression. Thereafter, marine
exposed on the flanks and within the crater of Lyttelton sedimentation interspersed with further volcanic eruptive
Volcano. The group includes the Church-type volcanics episodes continued until the Late Pliocene emergence of the
of Sewell et al. (1988) and comprises basaltic lava flows, eastern Chatham Rise. Many unconformities occur within
dikes, vent plugs (Fig. 34), sills and a dome. Minor breccia, the Cenozoic sedimentary sequence, which is generally
conglomerate, sandstone and carbonaceous mudstone are condensed.
interbedded with flows. Near Diamond Harbour a thick
sequence of flows underlies a 5 km-long slope dipping Mid-Cretaceous sedimentary rocks
gently northward into Lyttelton Harbour (Sewell et al.
1988; Fig. 13). Waihere Bay Group (lKw) of the Chatham Islands consists
of Tupuangi Formation, exposed on the northern part of
Undifferentiated Cenozoic intrusive rocks Pitt Island, and unexposed units that have been recognised
from seismic surveys of the Chatham region (Wood et al.
Basaltic to doleritic sills and dikes intrude Rakaia terrane 1989; Campbell et al. 1993).
basement and Late Cretaceous to mid-Cenozoic sedimentary
rocks. These intrusive rocks are represented on the map Tupuangi Formation mainly consists of weakly indurated,
by dike symbols. In the Malvern Hills and the Avoca very fine quartzofeldspathic sandstone and claystone, rich in
area, the intrusions have locally metamorphosed Broken carbonaceous material. Conglomerate occurs near the base,
River Formation coal to semi-anthracite (Speight 1928; minor discontinuous lignite seams are present throughout
McLennan 1981; Duff & Barry 1989). Some dikes can be most of the sequence, and tuffaceous layers occur at the
linked to extrusive volcanic episodes; those at Avoca, for top. A minimum thickness of 240 m is estimated from
example, have similar compositions to Thomas Formation composite sections, but geophysical data suggest that the
tuffs (McLennan 1981). However, most are of unknown formation is 700 m thick or more (Campbell et al. 1993).
age and geochemical affinity (Sewell & Gibson 1988).

Figure 35 The columnar basalt flow at Ohira Bay, on northwestern Chatham Island, is assigned to the Southern Volcanics
(Pitt Island Group). Photo: I.M. Turnbull.

32
Waihere Bay Group is inferred to rest unconformably The Southern Volcanics form the main southern mass of
on Chatham Schist. Fossils include pollen and other Chatham Island and also occur on Pitt Island (Campbell
plant remains, and a few estuarine bivalves. The age, et al. 1993). East and southwest of the Chatham Islands,
based on palynology, is middle Cretaceous (Motuan to further areas of Cretaceous volcanics are inferred
Teratan; Campbell et al. 1993). Detrital zircons include from magnetic data (Austin et al. 1973). The rocks are
a large group of predominantly Early Cretaceous age (90 predominantly alkaline olivine basaltic lava flows (Morris
130 Ma), slightly older than the pollen (Adams et al. 1985a) interbedded with volcanic breccia and tuff. Minor
2008), which probably represent initial local volcanism. rock types include trachyandesite, trachybasalt and
Tupuangi Formation was deposited in a gradually subsiding trachyte, with some dikes and sills (Campbell et al. 1993).
environment, which allowed a thick sequence of deltaic/ Hakepa on eastern Pitt Island (Fig. 18) is a trachyte dome.
estuarine sediment to accumulate at or just above sea level Columnar basalt at Ohira Bay, northwest Chatham Island
(Campbell et al. 1993). (Fig. 35) is the northernmost outcrop of Pitt Island Group.
Southern Volcanics rest unconformably on Chatham Schist,
Late Cretaceous volcanic rocks or conformably on Kahuitara Tuff on Pitt Island, and are
largely terrestrial deposits. Local marine conditions are
Pitt Island Group (lKp) comprises volcanogenic rocks indicated by pillow lavas, some with interstitial limestone,
and minor calcareous sedimentary rocks: Kahuitara Tuff, on southern Chatham Island (Campbell et al. 1993).
Southern Volcanics, and associated limestone (Campbell et
al. 1993). These units are grouped on the map. Lava flow sequences of Southern Volcanics are at least
300 m thick on the cliffed southern coast of Chatham
Kahuitara Tuff occurs on northern Pitt Island, gradationally Island (Figs 17 and 36). The volcanics thin progressively
overlying Tupuangi Formation (Campbell et al. 1993). It to the north (Panter et al. 2006), consistent with a source
consists of fossiliferous, massive to well-bedded sandstone in Pitt Strait or southern Chatham Island. The Southern
and conglomerate, and minor lapilli tuff of basaltic Volcanics were erupted between 80 and 85 Ma, based on
composition, and is up to 225 m thick. Ar-Ar ages of 8485 Ma (Panter et al. 2006) and 8085 Ma

Figure 36 Stratified basaltic flows and breccia of the Southern Volcanics form sea cliffs on the southern coast of Chatham
Island. A subhorizontal bench developed on the Southern Volcanics is overlain by brown lag gravels and palagonitic
marine sediments (centre) of the Plio-Pleistocene Mairangi Group. The prominent basalt peaks of The Horns are a young
intrusive element of the Mairangi Group. Photo: J.G. Begg.

33
(John Tarduno, pers. comm. 2008). Associated limestone more than 50 m at Waihere Bay on Pitt Island. The age is
on Pitt and Chatham islands contains microfossils of latest Late Paleocene to Early Eocene.
Cretaceous (Upper Haumurian) age, slightly younger than
these Ar-Ar ages. Te Whanga Limestone (Ek) is a coarse-grained bryozoan
limestone (Fig. 37; Campbell et al. 1993). It is soft, pale
Paleogene sedimentary and volcanic rocks and poorly bedded to massive, but has undergone varying
degrees of lithification with development of a sparry
Tioriori Group (PEt) comprises a sequence of glauconite- texture. Fossils occur at many localities, and the shark teeth
rich, locally-derived quartzofeldspathic sandstone and eroded from Te Whanga Limestone at Blind Jims Creek are
minor limestone restricted to northwestern Chatham perhaps the best known of all Chatham Island fossils (Fig.
Island (Campbell et al. 1993). The sequence is marine 38). The age of the formation is Early Eocene to Early
and fossiliferous throughout, and lies unconformably on Oligocene, and depositional environments ranged from
Chatham Schist. Tioriori Group ranges from late Early warm, relatively shallow water to mid-outer shelf settings.
Paleocene to Early Eocene, based on foraminifera and The lower part of Te Whanga Limestone is interbedded
dinoflagellates, although it also contains many other fossils. with Red Bluff Tuff.
The basal Takatika Grit comprises six metres of silicified
quartzofeldspathic sandstone containing phosphorite The Northern Volcanics (EOk) (Campbell et al. 1993)
nodules with fish, bird, theropod dinosaur and marine originally included rocks now known to belong to Mairangi
reptile bones of Cretaceous age (Stilwell et al. 2006). Group. The unit is now restricted to shore platform outcrops
However, well-preserved dinoflagellate microfossils in the at Taupeka Point, the coast at Wharekauri, and to part of
sedimentary matrix show Takatika Grit is of Paleocene age Mt Chudleigh (H.J. Campbell, pers. comm. 2008). The
(Wilson et al. 2005). The conformably overlying Tutuiri formation is non-marine and comprises basalt (limburgite)
Greensand (maximum thickness 25 m) is a glauconite-rich lava flows and poorly bedded to massive volcanic breccia.
sandstone in the lower part, grading upwards into bryozoan The basal contact at Taupeka Point is unconformable over
limestone. Tioriori Group sediments were deposited in an a planed surface of Chatham Schist (Campbell et al. 1993).
ocean shelf environment (Campbell et al. 1993). The Northern Volcanics are Middle to Late Eocene near
Wharekauri (3541 Ma, K-Ar dating of Grindley et al.
Kekerione Group comprises (from oldest to youngest) Red 1977, recalculated using new decay constants) and Early
Bluff Tuff, Te Whanga Limestone and Northern Volcanics, Oligocene at Mt Chudleigh (2737 Ma, Ar-Ar dating of
along with several other limestone lithofacies and members Panter et al. 2006).
of limited extent which are not differentiated. All units are
described in detail by Campbell et al. (1993). Pliocene volcanic and related sedimentary rocks

Red Bluff Tuff (Pk) is a calcareous, fossiliferous, marine Mairangi Group (^m) consists of volcanic and
palagonitic tuff of basaltic composition, with some limestone volcaniclastic rocks and minor limestone on Chatham, Pitt,
lenses. All known lower contacts are unconformable over and several smaller islands. Though limited in thickness
Pitt Island Group. Red Bluff Tuff is generally well-bedded, and extent, ten formations were described by Campbell et
possibly emplaced as mounds from many small eruptive al. (1993) and these have been further extended by recent
centres over a wide area. At least 100 m of Red Bluff Tuff field work, particularly in the north and south of Chatham
is exposed south of Lake Huro on Chatham Island, and Island. None can be differentiated at this map scale.

Figure 37 Cliffs of Te Whanga


Limestone (Kekerione Group)
at Big Bush. Nearby the
limestone is less cemented
and has been quarried for
agricultural lime.
Photo: I.M. Turnbull.

34
In northern Chatham Island, the prominent hills previously
mapped as Northern Volcanics (Fig. 16) are now included
in Rangitihi Volcanics, part of the Mairangi Group
(Campbell et al. 1993; H.J. Campbell, pers. comm. 2008).
They are cones of basaltic lava flows, pyroclastics and
minor intrusive rocks, all of limburgitic composition. The
extrusive phases were produced by explosive submarine
volcanism from at least 15 eruptive centres (Morris 1985b;
Panter et al. 2006). At Cape Young and Maunganui, the
deposits consist of interbedded tuff, breccia, pillow lava
and limestone (Fig. 39). Momoe-a-toa Tuff, intercalated
with Rangitihi Volcanics, comprises basaltic volcaniclastic
sandstone and tuff with richly fossiliferous Pliocene
shellbeds (Fig. 40). Rangitihi Volcanics are Early Pliocene
(45 Ma, Ar-Ar dating of Panter et al. 2006), and volcanic
rocks of this age also extend offshore (K. Hoernle, pers.
comm. 2007). The Sisters islets are composed of basaltic Figure 38 Fossil shark teeth from Te Whanga Limestone
flow rocks and breccia attributed to Rangitihi Volcanics at Blind Jims Creek on the northwestern side of Te Whanga
(Campbell et al. 1993). Lagoon. Most of the teeth are from Striatolamia macrota,
but Carcharodon, Notorhyncus and Lamna are also
In southern Chatham Island, an association of basal represented at this locality (Campbell et al. 1993).
conglomerate, palagonitic tuff, shelly pebbly limestone, Photo: I.M. Turnbull.
and basaltic flows and feeder pipes has recently been
recognised (H.J. Campbell, pers. comm. 2007; Figs 36 and
40). This association overlies a planed surface on Southern
Volcanics; Ar-Ar dating shows it is Early Pliocene in age
(K. Hoernle, pers. comm. 2007).

Volcanic and sedimentary rocks on Mangere and Little


Mangere islands, and nearby parts of Pitt Island, are also
included in the Pliocene Mairangi Group. Rangiauria
Breccia represents proximal deposits from several explosive
volcanic vents, some possibly as old as Late Miocene
(Campbell et al. 1993). Vent collapse created a basin into
which were deposited fossiliferous non-marine siltstone
and claystone (Mangere Formation). Richly fossiliferous
Whenuataru Tuff, containing lenses of glauconitic,
bryozoan Onoua Limestone, occurs on northern Pitt and
Mangere islands and is genetically related to Rangiauria
A
Breccia.

Figure 39 Volcanic rocks


of the Mairangi Group.
A: Basaltic pillow lavas
within Rangitihi Volcanics
are well exposed on the
coast at Mairangi, near
the northernmost point
on Chatham Island.
Photo: J.G. Begg.

B: The prominent hill


Maunganui, on north-
western Chatham Island,
consists of layered tuff
and breccia of Rangitihi
Volcanics. Bedding dips
gently to the right (west).
The house was built of
local stone in the late
1860s by the German
missionary J.G. Engst. B
Photo: J.G. Begg.

35
A B

Figure 40 Sedimentary rocks of the Mairangi Group.


A: The main shellbed of Momoe-a-toa Tuff is a fine example of a shallow-water, oceanic, hard-ground fauna, with abundant
specimens of Sectipecten (Campbell et al. 1993). It is well exposed on a wave-swept shore platform at Mairangi, near
Cape Young. Photo: J.G. Begg.
B: Un-named shelly, sandy conglomerate within Mairangi Group, 2 km east of Cape L'Eveque on the south coast of
Chatham Island. Stratigraphic relationships and a radiometric date of nearby Mairangi Group basalt indicate an age of
about 4.6 Ma (Early Pliocene). Photo: J.G. Begg.

Figure 41 Karewa Group sediments.


A: Interbedded Karewa Group peat and silt rest unconformably on
Southern Volcanics (not visible in the photo) near Boundary Rock on
the southern coast of Chatham Island. This section lies about 180 m
above sea level, and contains the Kawakawa Tephra about a metre
below the surface (Holt 2008). Photo: J.G. Begg.
B: Shellbed of marginal marine, early Nukumaruan Titirangi Sand at
Moutapu Point, on the western side of Te Whanga Lagoon. The upper
surface of the shelly sand is an erosional surface overlain unconformably
by the late Quaternary Wharekauri Sand (Karewa Group) of terrestrial
origin. Photo: J.G. Begg.

36
Mairangi Group rocks offshore from Pitt Island (Fig. 18) and erosion of the eastern Chatham Rise. It is Late Pliocene
include a single plug of opalised phonolite at The Pyramid in age (early Nukumaruan; Campbell et al. 1993).
islet, and basaltic volcaniclastic rocks at Southeast Island,
Round Island and the Star Keys. Ages of 2.63.9 Ma have The remainder of the Karewa Group (Qw) is predominantly
been determined by K-Ar dating (Grindley et al. 1977; terrestrial, and ranges from mid-Quaternary to Holocene in
Watters et al. 1987). age (Holt 2008). Marine deposits are limited to near-shore
shell beds, beach sands, and gravel lags of minor extent
Pliocene to Quaternary sediments (Holt 2008). Non-marine sediments include silt or sand
mainly derived from re-worked palagonitic tuff; aeolian
Karewa Group comprises Late Pliocene to Holocene dune-bedded quartzose sand with interbedded peat and
sediments, mostly of terrestrial origin, that unconformably paleosols; and stratified blanket peat deposits (Campbell
overlie all older rocks of the Chatham Islands (Campbell et al. 1993; Holt 2008; Fig. 41). Radiocarbon ages from
et al. 1993). Although Karewa Group sediments are only peat include post-glacial and last glaciation ages (Campbell
mapped on northern Chatham and Pitt islands, where they et al. 1993), back to the limit of radiocarbon dating. It is
are thickest, they occur much more widely. impractical to show the complete distribution of the peat
blanket; for example the southern uplands of Chatham
The oldest unit, Titirangi Sand (^w), consists of Island, mapped as volcanic rocks of the Pitt Island Group,
quartzofeldspathic sand, with shell beds and basal layers of are mantled by several metres of peat which is still forming
subangular schist, basalt, limestone and vein quartz pebbles today.
(Campbell et al. 1993; Fig. 41). Titirangi Sand occurs on
the western side of Te Whanga Lagoon and near Red Bluff Two volcanic ash layers, originating from the Taupo Volcanic
in Petre Bay (Holt 2008). It is the oldest post-Paleocene Zone in the central North Island, have been identified
formation in the Chatham Islands that contains significant within Karewa Group: Rangitawa Tephra (345 ka), and the
terrigenous debris, and signals the beginning of emergence Rekohu Ash Shower, correlated with Kawakawa Tephra
(27 ka; Holt 2008).

Table 1 Mapping of Quaternary glacial and interglacial sediments in the Canterbury map area.

AREA Upper Canterbury Canterbury Waipara area Amberley This map


Waimakariri Plains (regional) Motunau coast
catchment (Waimakariri
sector)

REFERENCE Gage 1958, Wilson 1989, Gregg 1964, Wilson 1963 Gregg 1964,
Moar & Gage Brown & Weeber Suggate 1973 Suggate 1965
1973 1992

Post-glacial /
Springston
Post-glacial Christchurch / Holocene - Q1b / Q1d / Q1a
(5 members)
Springston

Poulter St Bernard
NAME OF FORMATION OR MAP UNIT

Burnham Canterbury
- Q2t, Q2a
Blackwater Burnham Gravels

Otarama (part) Windwhistle (part) Windwhistle (part)

Otarama (part) Windwhistle (part) Windwhistle (part) - - Q4t, Q4a

Bromley* un-named Winterholme Q5b

Teviotdale
Woodstock Woodlands Woodlands Q6t, Q6a
Gravels

- - - - Parikawa mQb

Avoca Hororata Hororata - mQt, mQa

*Fine-grained sediments in Joyces Stream, Otarama (Moar & Gage 1973), of presumed OIS 5 age, are not extensive enough to be shown
on this map.

37
QUATERNARY

Quaternary sediments are widespread in the Canterbury


area, filling valleys and basins, and forming locally thick
accumulations beneath the plains, coast and sea floor. The
Chatham Islands have a widespread cover of Quaternary
deposits, but only the youngest of these (Q1, see below)
are differentiated on the map; the remainder are included in
Karewa Group (Qw, see p. 37).

Quaternary sediments were previously mapped in


formations (for example, Gregg 1964; Suggate 1973; see
Table 1), but on QMAP sheets they are classified by age
and mode of deposition. Ages based on the Marine Oxygen
Isotope Stage (OIS) classification (Martinson et al. 1987)
are prefixed by Q. Episodes of interglacial climate have
odd numbers while glacial phases have even numbers. The
present interglacial (Holocene, Q1) spans the last 11 500
years3 . Most Quaternary sediments in the Canterbury map Figure 42 Blocky landslide debris in the Waipara (Ohuriawa)
area were deposited either during the Holocene or during gorge. The chaotic blocks, derived from Mt Brown Formation
glacial events (such as Q2, Q4, Q6), when generally cold limestone (Motunau Group), are many metres across.
climates resulted in reduced vegetation cover, glacier
advance in the mountains, and widespread river aggradation. Landslide deposits
Older interglacial sediments have been uplifted along the
coastal fringe north of Amberley. Sediments whose ages are Landslide deposits (uQl, Q1l) comprise a variety of rock
poorly constrained are assigned a generalised late, middle, and soil debris, according to the materials in the source
early or undifferentiated Quaternary age (i.e. lQ, mQ, eQ areas. Landslides are found in many of the downland, hill
or uQ). Measured ages, for example from radiocarbon or and mountain areas and occur on all scales. Only landslides
luminescence dating, are rarely available. For the most more than 0.5 km2 in extent are shown on the map. Several
part, ages are assigned using relative age indicators such types of landslide occur, including debris flows, shallow
as landform height and preservation, soil development and translational slides and rotational slumps, deeper seated
weathering. earthflows or slumps, rock block slides (Fig. 42), rockfalls
from cliffs, and rock avalanches from steep mountain slopes.
Modes of deposition comprise ten main categories: scree Where the underlying rock unit can be inferred, displaced
and colluvium (s), landslide (l), rock avalanche (h), till slope material is shown as an overprint. A relict landslide
(t), alluvium (a), loess (e), dune (d), lake (k), beach (b), (Q5l) occurs in association with raised interglacial marine
and human (anthropogenic; n). Alluvium is further deposits northeast of the Waipara River. Rock avalanche
differentiated by overprints for active floodplain, alluvial deposits (Q1h), resulting from sudden failure of steep
fan, swamp and estuary. mountain slopes, generally comprise unsorted fragments of
rock in a sandy or silty matrix.
Scree and colluvial deposits
Glacial deposits
Deposits of scree, consisting of unsorted angular blocky
rock debris, and colluvium, comprising rock debris, sand or Glacial deposits, collectively referred to here as till,
silt, are widespread in upland areas of Canterbury, including include angular or rounded bouldery gravel, sand, silt and
Banks Peninsula. These deposits are up to many tens of clay, deposited by or in close association with glacier ice.
metres thick but only the most extensive are differentiated The deposits commonly show deformation caused by ice
on the map (Q1s). Smaller areas of scree or colluvium at movement, or internal collapse during glacier melting and
valley margins are included within alluvium units. On the retreat. Bedded sand, silt and clay formed in ice-marginal
crests of some inland Canterbury ranges, isolated boulder lakes are included within the glacial deposit units.
field deposits (lQs) comprise angular rock debris, locally
displaying stone stripe and polygon patterns produced by Deposits from at least three glaciations are preserved in
periglacial (freeze-thaw) action. the map area (Fig. 43). The oldest tills (mQt) are typically
yellow-brown with slightly to highly weathered gravel
clasts. Little of the original moraine morphology is
recognisable. They are inferred to be at least as old as OIS
3
The Holocene Epoch was originally defined as beginning 6, and may include remnants of deposits formed during
10 000 years ago, based on radiocarbon dating. It is now more than one glaciation. Q6t is locally subdivided from
known that there is mismatch between radiocarbon ages mQt based on relative position and degree of landform
and calendar years, due to natural variations in radiocarbon
concentrations. The Holocene began approximately
preservation. Remnants of grey-brown till with slightly
11 500 calendar years ago (Gradstein et al. 2004). weathered gravel clasts (Q4t) are correlated with OIS 4

38
N

0 10 20

Kilometres

Figure 43 Approximate limits of ice advances and Ice limits


interglacial coastlines in the Christchurch area. Late LGM ~20,000 - 17,000 y BP
These are derived from geological mapping and
Early or mid LGM ~ 27,000 to 20,000 y BP
geomorphological interpretation, relative to the present
Early Otira Glaciation (Q4)
topography and coastline.
Middle Quaternary Glaciations -
The lightly shaded area shows the estimated extent Waimea Glaciation (Q6) and older
of the ice during the Last Glacial Maximum. Ice limits Interglacial coastline
of earlier glaciations in the upper Waimakariri are not Q1
well defined by deposits, but it is unlikely that Q4 ice
Q5
extended through the Otarama Gorge.
Q7
Interglacial shoreline positions in the coastal hills lie Q9
at the inland margin of raised marine terraces and mQ
related erosion features. Subsurface positions of the Present lakes & sea
shorelines in the Pegasus to Ellesmere area are based
LGM ice (transparent)
on drillhole information (Brown & Wilson 1988).

39
Figure 44 Rocky till forming
hummocky moraines in a valley
beneath Back Peak, high in the
Torlesse Range. The till is probably
of late Q2 age, and has been
remobilised by freeze/thaw action
to produce the wrinkled surface
characteristic of rock glaciers.
Steep slopes in the background are
mantled by scree.

in the upper Waimakariri basin. Brownish-grey and grey River deposits


tills (Q2t) forming well-defined moraine loops and ridges
are assigned to OIS 2 based on the lack of weathering and Alluvial deposits comprising gravel, sand and silt have
landform preservation (Gage 1958; Suggate 1965, 1990). been laid down by rivers and streams. They range from
Q2t is separated into brownish-grey tills formed during the veneers of sediment up to several metres thick, masking
early to middle parts of OIS 2 (red overprint), and grey tills older geological units, to major aggradational deposits
of the late Last Glacial Maximum and subsequent retreat many tens of metres thick. Compactness of the deposits
(black overprint; Fig. 44). generally increases with age.

A B

Figure 45 River deposits.


A: Road-cut exposure of deposits beneath a degradational
terrace surface of the Waipara River. River gravel with a
brown-weathered matrix (Q2a) is overlain by a veneer
of grey Q1a river gravel and capped by a thin mantle of
Holocene loess. The weathered gravel clasts are derived
from Kowai Formation.
B: Typical Q2a river alluvium of the Canterbury Plains near
the Selwyn River. The grey unweathered gravel has a
compact matrix of yellow-brown stained silt and sand, and
is probably distal outwash from the upper Selwyn lobe of
the Rakaia glacier. Thin loess caps the gravel.

40
River alluvium typically consists of moderately- to well- poorly sorted, silty, sub-angular gravel and sand. Brown,
sorted, sandy, rounded gravel. Close to coeval glacial weathered fan alluvium in dissected terraces (mQa) is
deposits, alluvium includes poorly sorted, bouldery, sandy probably at least as old as OIS 6 and includes remnants
and silty outwash gravel. Dissected river terraces containing of alluvium deposited during different glacial, and perhaps
grey-brown to yellow-brown, slightly to highly weathered interglacial, episodes. Grey to brown fan alluvium of
sandy gravel (eQa, mQa) are distinguished by relative undifferentiated late Quaternary age underlies composite
differences in height. These gravels have poorly preserved fans that are still partially active (lQa), as well as incised
depositional surfaces and are inferred to be at least as old as or abandoned fans deposited during the Last Glacial
OIS 6. They may include unrelated remnants of alluvium Maximum (Q2a) and active or recently active fans (Q1a).
deposited during different glacial episodes. Grey-brown, Alluvial fan deposits too small to show on this map are
slightly to moderately weathered river alluvium (Q6a, included within adjacent river alluvium.
Q4a) is preserved in scattered terrace remnants near the
margins of the valleys and plains, and also at depth beneath Loess
younger deposits in the plains. Grey to grey-brown river
gravel, sand and silt of undifferentiated late Quaternary age Windblown yellow-brown silt deposits, locally with fine
(lQa) is mapped where the deposit is considered to span a sand or clay, are widespread on terraces, slopes and ridges
range of ages younger than OIS 6. Largely unweathered, at the margins of the Canterbury Plains, on Banks Peninsula
grey or brown-grey alluvium with generally well-preserved and on the coastal hills north of Waipara River (Ives 1973;
surface channel patterns (Q2a) underlies large areas of Berger et al. 2001; Schmidt et al. 2005). Loess is commonly
the Canterbury Plains (Fig. 45). River valleys cut below up to several metres thick and generally overlies Quaternary
the general level of the plains commonly have flights of sediments older than OIS 2 as well as pre-Quaternary
degradational terraces stepping down to the river. The rocks. It is most extensive on middle to late Quaternary
highest degradation terraces, included within Q2a on the terraces but elsewhere has a more patchy distribution due
map, are typically underlain by a veneer of late OIS 2 to episodic removal by localised wind or water erosion.
alluvium, resting unconformably on earlier OIS 2 alluvium. For several kilometres southwest of entrenched rivers such
Lower degradation terraces and modern river floodplains as the Rakaia and Waimakariri, alluvium of the Canterbury
are underlain by grey unweathered alluvium (Q1a; Fig. 45), Plains is blanketed by Holocene (OIS 1) loess up to 2 m
which is most extensive in eastern parts of the Canterbury thick, locally reaching 4 m at Barrhill (Ives 1973; Berger
Plains where aggradation of river alluvium has continued et al. 1996). Dust storms generated from floodplains
during OIS 1. during northwesterly gales continue to add to these loess
deposits. Holocene loess also occurs in parts of the upper
Alluvial fan deposits Waimakariri basin.

Fan-shaped wedges of alluvial sediment are formed where For clarity, loess is not shown on this map, except on Banks
streams emerge from hill terrain onto low-gradient valley Peninsula where loess thicker than about 3 m is mapped
floors or plains. Fan alluvium is typically moderately to (mQe; Figs 14 and 46). These loess deposits commonly

Figure 46 Loess on the Banks Peninsula foothills, near the junction of Christchurch-Akaroa Road and Birdlings Road.
This quarried outcrop has multi-layered loess and loess-colluvium about 16 m thick. The draping of former land surfaces
can be clearly seen. Vertical fretting of the face is related to the process that forms tunnel gullies in nearby slopes.
Photo: I.M. Turnbull.

41
Figure 47 Dune deposits.
A A: Dunes of windblown river sand are an
obvious landscape feature on several parts
of the Canterbury Plains. Sandy Knolls
near West Melton, south of the Waimakariri
River, are post-glacial (OIS 1) in age.
Photo CN23390/8: D.L. Homer.
B: Mobile Holocene dunes separate
brackish Lake Pateriki (right) from the Pacific
Ocean on northeastern Chatham Island.
Photo: I.M. Turnbull.

Figure 48 Beach deposits of Glacial Lake


Speight occur on a flight of wave-eroded
benches cut into a large alluvial fan near Mt
Binser, in the upper Waimakariri basin. They
date from the latest part of the last glaciation.
Photo: D.B. Townsend.

42
contain multiple layers, with softer massive loess alternating Swamp, lake and coastal deposits
with harder, jointed loess (fragipans; for example, Griffiths
1973). Interbedded layers of colluvium or fan alluvium Poorly consolidated peat, silt and sand (overprint on Q1a)
are common where loess lies on or adjacent to moderate are associated with swamps (some of which are now
slopes, along with downslope thickening of loess due to drained) on floodplains, in dune fields and near lake and
colluvial reworking of primary (airfall) material. Griffiths coastal margins. Swamp deposits more than about 0.5 km2
(1973, 1974) distinguished between calcareous Birdlings in extent are shown on the map, except where incorporated
Flat loess on the outer flanks of Banks Peninsula and non- into adjacent lake or estuarine deposits.
calcareous Barrys Bay loess, containing more colluvial
material, on slopes of the valleys and harbours. The ages of In the upper Waimakariri valley, wave-cut benches with
loess sequences have proved difficult to measure accurately veneers of lake-beach gravel and sand (Q2k) formed at
(Berger et al. 2001; Almond et al. 2007). the margin of Glacial Lake Speight (Gage 1958), which
filled during glacier retreat and was subsequently drained
Dune sand in late OIS 2 (Fig. 48). Late Holocene lacustrine sand, silt
and peat (Q1k) are mapped around parts of lakes Ellesmere
Dunes of windblown river sand occur locally on the and Forsyth, along with estuarine or marine silt and sand
Canterbury Plains. Yellow-brown, weathered sand (mQd) (Q1a) at the head of Lyttelton Harbour, around the Avon-
overlies middle Quaternary alluvium near Glenroy, while Heathcote Estuary, and in Te Whanga Lagoon on Chatham
slightly weathered sand dunes (Q2d) and unweathered Island.
dunes (Q1d) occur on terraces near the Rakaia and
Waimakariri rivers (Fig. 47). Dunes are actively forming Uplifted coastal deposits formed during previous
beside the modern floodplains. interglacials (Fig. 43) rest on wave-cut platforms north of
the Waipara River in northern Canterbury. The sediments
Dunes of beach sand (Q1d) occur on Kaitorete Spit and include beach or shallow marine gravels or sands (Fig.
form extensive dune fields along the coastal fringe from 49), shellbeds, estuarine sand and mud, alluvial fan gravel,
Sumner to the Waipara River, and also around the central sand and silt, dune sand and loess (Jobberns 1926, 1928;
and northern coasts of Chatham Island (Fig. 47), where Suggate 1965; Carr 1970). The most prominent uplifted
four episodes of Holocene dune-building are recognised terrace is underlain by slightly weathered gravel and sand
(McFadgen 1994). While many dunes are relatively (Q5b) and has a well-defined inland margin that marks a
stable, seaward parts of some coastal dunes are actively former shoreline. The inland margin is about 45 m above
accumulating (red overprint on Q1d). sea level near the Waipara River and increases to as much
as 120 m near Motunau, reflecting greater uplift towards the
northeast. At Motunau, the terrace also has a pronounced
seaward tectonic tilt, with height of the terrace decreasing
to as little as 30 m at the present coast (Fig. 7). Several
more flat benches of presumed marine origin, up to at least
300 m altitude, are present on the coastal margin of the
northern Canterbury hills (Carr 1970; Yousif 1987; Barrell
1989), but the map shows only those with weathered beach
gravel and sand (mQb).

Late Holocene beach gravel and sand ridges (Q1b) are


most extensive at Kaitorete Spit (Soons et al. 1997; Fig. 11)
but are also mapped around Lake Ellesmere (Hemmingsen
1997) and at the heads of some bays on Banks Peninsula
(Stephenson & Shulmeister 1999). Active gravel and sand
beaches (colour overprint on Q1b) are wide enough to
depict on the map in parts of Canterbury Bight, Pegasus
Bay and in Hanson Bay on Chatham Island.

Deposits of human origin

Anthropic deposits (Q1n) are widespread in urban areas


and along transport corridors, but only locally are they
extensive enough to show on the map. These include
material placed for engineering works such as reclamations
at Port of Lyttelton and Ferrymead, embankments
impounding oxidation ponds at Christchurch, and the Lake
Figure 49 Marine terrace (Q5b) deposits northeast of Hood recreational reservoir near Ashburton. Also shown
Motunau Beach. Well-rounded, well-sorted greywacke are the main McLeans Island flood stopbank and the Eyre
beach gravel has been offset and buckled by a minor fault. River and Halswell River diversion canals, along with

43
waste landfills at Parklands near Christchurch and at Kate Permian-Triassic and Triassic Torlesse rocks (cross section
Valley southeast of Waipara. C-C) are inferred to be faults.

SUBSURFACE AND OFFSHORE GEOLOGY Below the present coast, Quaternary alluvial deposits
interfinger with estuarine and shallow marine deposits
Information on subsurface geology on land and offshore (Suggate 1958; Brown & Wilson 1988; Wilson 1989;
comes directly from petroleum exploration drillholes (J.D. Fig. 50). Sedimentation was influenced by glacial/
George-1, Chertsey-1, Leeston-1, Resolution-1, Arcadia-1 interglacial fluctuations in climate and sea level, and non-
and Kowai-1), stratigraphic drillholes and water wells. marine peat and shallow marine shell deposits well below
Based on new seismic reflection surveys and exploration glacial minimum sea levels indicate long-term subsidence
wells undertaken by Indo-Pacific Energy, J.D. George-1 (Wellman 1979; Gibb 1986; Brown & Wilson 1988).
stratigraphy has been reinterpreted (Jongens 2008).
Indirect information is obtained from geophysical surveys, Concealed active faults and folds in the Pegasus Bay area
particularly seismic reflection and gravity, and further are interpreted from seismic surveys (Barnes 1993, 1995,
constraint comes from surface rock exposures. The current 1996). In offshore Canterbury and the Chatham Islands,
interpretation of subsurface geology across the Christchurch the thicknesses of the mid-Cretaceous to Quaternary
map area is shown in the cross sections. sequence and locations of subsurface bodies of volcanic
rock are based on geophysical survey data (Field, Browne
The subsurface interpretations in the Canterbury ranges and et al. 1989; Wood et al. 1989).
basins, and near Banks Peninsula, are based on extrapolation
of surface geology. Concealed faults and folds mapped on Sediments forming the modern sea bed are predominantly
the Canterbury Plains are based on seismic reflection surveys sand or mud. There are patches of gravelly or shelly
for Indo-Pacific Energy (Schlumberger Geco Prakla 1998, sediment, particularly southeast of the coast between the
1999, 2000) and Dorn et al. (2008), and reprocessed seismic Ashburton and Rakaia rivers, east of Banks Peninsula and
data of Kirkaldy et al. (1963). Combined with exploration offshore from the coastal hills (Herzer 1979, 1981a, 1981b;
drillholes (for example, Indo-Pacific Energy 2000), the Carter & Herzer 1986). Currents and swells transport
surveys have also been used to interpret the Cretaceous to sand and mud along the sea bed, mainly in a northeasterly
Quaternary sequence beneath the Canterbury Plains (cross- direction (Carter & Herzer 1979), except for a zone of
sections B-B and C-C). Subsurface boundaries between southward longshore drift in the southern half of Pegasus
Bay (Herzer 1981a).

NW SE

120
Sp
rin
80 Bu gston Canterbury Plains Canterbury Bight
rnh Fm
Wo a m / W .
ind
Metres above/below sealevel

od
40 lan wh
ds istl
Ho F m. eF
ror m.
ata Present Day Sea Level
0 Fm 2/4
. Ricca Christc
rton G hurch Continental Shelf
Fm.
6 ravel Pegasus Bay Fm
-40 .
Linwo Bromle Canterbury
od Gr y Fm. Bight Fm. (Upper) Shelf
8 a vel
-80 Canterbury Edge
Burw Bight Fm. (Lower)
ood G
10 r avel Heathcote Fm
-120 .
Wa i n
Unna o ni Gr
med avel Shirley Fm.
-160 grav
el

-200 Unnamed interglacial

-240
Fluvial gravel

Sand, silt, clay and peat


0 10 20
6 Oxygen Isotope Stage
Kilometres

Figure 50 Diagrammatic cross section through Quaternary deposits underlying Christchurch.


After Brown & Weeber (1992) and Browne & Naish (2003).

44
TECTONIC HISTORY
Permian to Early Cretaceous Mid-Cretaceous to Paleogene

The Torlesse composite terrane is the easternmost of An extensional tectonic setting replaced the previous
the Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic terranes that accreted convergence at the Gondwanaland margin. Widespread
along the active proto-Pacific convergent margin of erosion of Torlesse rocks took place, with deposition of
Gondwanaland (Bradshaw et al. 1981). The Permian to sediments in mid-Cretaceous basins in Canterbury, along
Late Triassic quartzofeldspathic sediments of the Rakaia the Chatham Rise and on the Chatham Islands (Field,
terrane accumulated along this margin in a subduction zone Browne et al. 1989; Wood et al. 1989; Campbell et al.
setting, and were progressively imbricated and deformed 1993). Andesitic to rhyolitic volcanism at this time (Mount
in an accretionary wedge. Sediments were derived from Somers Volcanics Group) was associated with normal
erosion of Gondwanan rocks, mainly felsic igneous and faulting, and may also have been related to the entry of
sedimentary rocks (MacKinnon 1983; Wandres et al. Hikurangi Plateau oceanic crust into the subduction zone
2004b). The most likely source areas were geological (Tappenden 2003; Davy et al. 2008).
provinces now lying in northeast Australia (Adams & Kelley
1998; Pickard et al. 2000; Adams & Maas 2004) or in Marie The New Zealand continental block began to separate from
Byrd Land, Antarctica (MacKinnon 1983; Wandres et al. Australia with the opening of the Tasman Sea in the middle
2004b). During accretion, the sediments now comprising Late Cretaceous (c. 85 Ma; Mortimer 2004). Tectonic
the Rakaia terrane in the Christchurch map area were activity slowed through the Paleocene, and Tasman Sea
subjected to prehnite-pumpellyite facies metamorphism. spreading ended in the Early Eocene, although spreading
Metamorphism and an early deformation phase are thought continued between Antarctica and proto-New Zealand.
to have culminated in the latest Triassic-Early Jurassic The Canterbury part of the map area was emergent land
(Bradshaw et al. 1981; Adams 2003). Wakaepa Formation in the Late Cretaceous, but slow regional subsidence in
was deposited during the Middle Jurassic in a non-marine a passive margin setting led to widespread sedimentation
setting, and was derived from previously formed Rakaia (Eyre Group). Localised intraplate basaltic volcanism
terrane rocks. This implies that lithification, and localised occurred during the Early Eocene (View Hill Volcanics),
uplift and erosion, had taken place by this time. Chatham Middle Eocene (Esk Formation volcanics) and Early
Schist was metamorphosed to pumpellyite-actinolite facies Oligocene (Thomas Formation). The Chatham Islands
(Adams & Robinson 1977; Josephson 1985), probably also underwent regional subsidence in the Late Cretaceous,
during the Early Jurassic (Adams et al. 2008). leading to marine transgression across sediment-filled mid-
Cretaceous extensional basins (Waihere Bay Group) and
By the Late Jurassic, the Gondwanaland convergent a major stratovolcano (represented by Pitt Island Group).
margin had re-established itself on the proto-Pacific side Paleogene marine sediments and volcanic deposits (Tioriori
of the Rakaia terrane. Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous and Kekerione groups) were partly eroded during a Late
quartzofeldspathic sediments of the Pahau terrane Oligocene period of non-deposition that may have been
accumulated along this subducting margin and were caused by tectonic activity, changes in sea level and/or
deformed in an accretionary wedge. Much of the sediment changes in oceanic circulation (Wood & Herzer 1993).
was sourced from uplifted Rakaia terrane and felsic
volcanics of the Median Batholith (MacKinnon 1983; Miocene and Pliocene
Wandres et al. 2004a, 2005). Deformation and zeolite facies
metamorphism of the Pahau terrane culminated in the Early Major changes in tectonics were occurring by the earliest
Cretaceous (Bradshaw et al. 1981; Bradshaw 1989), and the Miocene, with the development of the Australian-Pacific
Rakaia and Pahau terranes probably amalgamated at this plate boundary through New Zealand (Walcott 1978;
time. The Esk Head belt, comprising mlange and other Sutherland et al. 2000). The Alpine Fault and Marlborough
sheared rocks, is interpreted as a tectonic suture between Fault System propagated through the South Island, while
the Rakaia and Pahau terranes (Bradshaw et al. 1981; north of the Chatham Rise, Pacific Plate oceanic crust
Begg & Johnston 2000). Exotic blocks within the mlange began to be subducted westward (Nicol et al. 2007).
may represent relics of seamounts or ocean floor which Uplift and erosion close to the Alpine Fault provided
ploughed into the lower slope of the Pahau accretionary an increasing input of sediment to the shallow seas of
wedge (Silberling et al. 1988). The blocks were mixed Canterbury, resulting in the deposition of the Motunau
with mudstone-rich lithologies and incorporated into the Group (Browne & Field 1985; Carter 1988). Intraplate
Esk Head belt by shearing and/or diapirism (Bradshaw volcanism, primarily basaltic, occurred during the Middle to
1989). The same convergent tectonism was possibly Late Miocene (Weaver & Smith 1989). The large complex
responsible for refolding of earlier structures in the Rakaia stratovolcanoes of Lyttelton and Akaroa were constructed
terrane (Bradshaw 1989), and folding and zeolite facies at Banks Peninsula, and basaltic deposits were erupted in
metamorphism of the Wakaepa Formation. Convergent a predominantly non-marine environment in the Hororata-
margin subduction and terrane accretion ended in the late Oxford area (Burnt Hill Group).
Early Cretaceous (Bradshaw 1989), possibly as a result of
collision between the Hikurangi Plateau and the margin of By the Pliocene, continuing uplift and erosion in the
Gondwanaland at what is now the Chatham Rise (Davy west was producing large volumes of greywacke-derived
1992; Davy et al. 2008). sediment that accumulated in a proto-Canterbury Plains

45
environment. These plains once extended across the folds have greater rates of deformation than are currently
Waipara area, as revealed by the hundreds of metres of estimated.
Kowai Formation gravel preserved on the flanks of thrust-
cored anticlines such as the Doctors Range. Outer shelf Off the northern Canterbury coast, rates and amplitudes of
sedimentation continued in the Motunau area (Greta deformation diminish rapidly towards the southeast (Barnes
Formation), where tectonic activity may have played a 1995). Near the coast, inferred slip rates of subsurface faults
role in the formation and filling of submarine canyons, in are up to 0.9 mm/yr, whereas 20 km farther offshore, fault
association with synsedimentary slumping and submarine slip rates have diminished to < 0.1 mm/yr (Barnes 1996).
debris-flows (Herzer & Lewis 1979). At the eastern end Slow rates of tectonic activity are consistent with onland
of the Chatham Rise, an uplift event in latest Pliocene time observations: no deformation of Holocene landforms,
caused the emergence of land for the first time since the slight deformation of Last Glacial Maximum landforms,
Late Cretaceous, and probably resulted in the erosion of and progressively greater deformation of older landforms.
large parts of the Paleogene and Neogene record by sea-
level fluctuations. Continuing subsidence of the eastern part of the Canterbury
Plains and adjacent shelf from mid-Pegasus Bay
Quaternary southwards, together with the high rates of sedimentation,
are shown by intercalated glacial and interglacial sediments
The zone of deformation across the plate boundary beneath Christchurch, Lake Ellesmere and the Canterbury
widened during the Quaternary, resulting in a suite of Bight (Fig. 50). Estimated subsidence rates of between
north- to northeast-striking reverse faults and associated 0.1 and 0.3 mm/yr (for example, Herzer 1981a; Brown &
folds. These produced the range and basin topography of Weeber 1994) are in apparent conflict with remnants of
northern and inland central Canterbury. Sinuous anticlinal loess-covered erosion surfaces close to present sea level
and synclinal folds characterise the Waipara area, while on the flanks of Banks Peninsula, which are interpreted as
southwest of Amberley, a series of reverse faults and wave-eroded features attesting to tectonic stability in the
folds, and at least one strike-slip fault (Porters Pass Fault) late Quaternary (Armon 1974; Lawrie 1993; Bal 1997).
comprise the Porters Pass to Amberley Fault Zone (Cowan Quaternary deposits beneath Gebbies Valley have been
et al. 1996; Howard et al. 2005). Uplift of the western side interpreted as reflecting tectonic stability (Shulmeister et
of the fault zone produced the Canterbury range front, a al. 1999), whereas shelly sediments between 40 and 55 m
prominent westward transition from plains to ranges. below sea level under the Port of Lyttelton suggest tectonic
subsidence of the Lyttelton area (Barrell 2001). One
Late Quaternary uplift rates of up to 2 mm/yr are estimated possible explanation is that Quaternary sediment loading
at the axis of the Cass Anticline near Waipara (Nicol et al. may have caused subsidence in areas where the sediments
1994, 1995; Pettinga et al. 2001; Campbell et al. 2003). It are thickest.
is unclear whether all the large-scale faults/folds are still
active and have caused, for example, the uplift of coastal On Chatham Island, uplift rates of 0.040.08 mm/yr have
marine terraces, or whether such uplift reflects newly been inferred from wave-cut surfaces and their cover
evolved active structures. However, known locations beds, although there is considerable variation across the
of faults and estimated rates of slip do not fully account island (Holt 2008). These rates are very low compared
for deformation recorded by Global Positioning System with mainland New Zealand, and are consistent with
measurements (Wallace et al. 2007). It is possible that there the remoteness of the Chatham Islands from the plate
are additional active faults, or that the known faults and boundary.

46
ENGINEERING GEOLOGY
This section provides generalised information on the Cretaceous and Cenozoic volcanic rocks
engineering properties of rock types in the Christchurch map
area. It is not detailed enough for site-specific geotechnical Volcanic rocks formed as lava flows or domes are
investigations or geological hazard assessments. generally hard and stand well in bluffs and steep slopes,
but are susceptible to joint-controlled block falls. Bedded
Paleozoic to Early Cretaceous rocks volcaniclastic rocks including tuff, breccia and sandstone
may have planes of weakness parallel to bedding, although
In the Torlesse composite terrane, physical properties of they generally stand well in moderate to steep natural or
the unfoliated rocks (t.z. I) vary depending on composition, cut slopes. Weathering reduces the strength and stability
structural character and weathering. Unweathered, poorly of volcanic rocks.
bedded sandstone is generally strong and hard, while well-
bedded sandstone/mudstone, massive mudstone, mlange Quaternary sediments
and broken formation rocks are weaker and commonly
more fractured. Rock strength is reduced with increased Quaternary sediments are poorly consolidated and are
weathering, or where there are closely spaced rock-mass classified in engineering geology as soils. Their geotechnical
defects such as joints, bedding surfaces or crush zones. properties depend on factors such as composition, degree
Steep natural or cut slopes in fresh rock with few joints of consolidation, water saturation and grain size, and may
generally stand well, although rockfall is a potential hazard be difficult to predict on a local (<1 km) scale. Scree,
in steep terrain. Slightly to moderately foliated Torlesse colluvium and landslide deposits are internally variable in
rocks on the Chatham Islands (t.z. II and higher) are composition and strength, but are generally weak materials.
more prone to failure parallel to planes of schistosity or
foliation. Early to mid-Quaternary gravels are generally bound in
a silt or clay matrix, with low to moderate permeability,
Late Cretaceous and Cenozoic sedimentary rocks and stand well in moderate to steep cut slopes. Q6 to
Q2 tills are generally compact and of low permeability,
These rocks have a wide range of geotechnical properties especially where lake beds occur within till. Q6 to Q4
because of the variety of composition and grain size. alluvial gravels, and Q2 outwash gravels close to moraines,
Limestone is generally hard and stands well in bluffs are generally compact, particularly where silt dominates
and steep slopes, but is susceptible to joint-controlled the matrix. Other Q2 alluvial gravels and Q1 gravels are
block falls. Sandstone and mudstone, though generally generally poorly consolidated to loose. Thick deposits of
consolidated, are soft rocks in the engineering sense. Q1 sand, silt or peat provide a less satisfactory foundation
Where unweathered they may stand well in moderately material than do gravelly sediments. Alluvial fan deposits
sloping natural or cut faces, but are prone to fretting. They are generally siltier and more compact than river gravels
become more susceptible to landsliding where weathered, of equivalent age. Loess is generally compact but is very
particularly where bedding dips at a moderate angle. susceptible to rilling and tunnel gully erosion (Fig. 51).
Mudstone rich in smectitic swelling clay, commonly known When dry it may stand well in steep faces, but tends to be
as bentonite, is particularly prone to instability. unstable in moderate to steep slopes when saturated.

Figure 51 Loess deposits on the Port Hills near Christchurch have caused problems in some subdivisions, as even minor
earthworks may expose erodible material. For example, severe rilling and tunnel gully erosion of loess have occurred at
Westmorland since the 1970s. Unless controlled, stormwater runoff can initiate rilling (left) and gully erosion (right) by
wetting and drying the soil. Photos CN25104/35 (left) and CN25241/24: D.L. Homer.

47
GEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
Aggregate is economically the most important geological developments is expected to increase, particularly in the
resource of the map area, and supplies are practically greater Christchurch area. Canterbury Plains gravel is
inexhaustible. Limestone, coal, sand and clay (including generally free of reactive minerals and is ideal for use as
bentonite) have been mined extensively in the past and road metal and in concrete production. Zeolites occur in
some quarries are still worked on a small scale. There are gravel derived from some catchments, such as the Ashley
no significant resources of metallic minerals. The valuable (Fig. 23).
groundwater resource beneath the Canterbury Plains is
extensive but demand is high and increasing. Onshore The Pound Road quarry west of Christchurch is one of the
Canterbury has low potential for significant reserves largest alluvial gravel pits in the country, producing about
of hydrocarbons, but the offshore area may be more 40 different aggregate and sand products (Christie et al.
prospective. Phosphorite nodules on the Chatham Rise 2001b), and many other sites on the Canterbury Plains are
have some potential for mining. worked as required. Several of the parks in the Christchurch
urban area occupy former gravel pits (Brown & Weeber
Aggregate 1992) and elsewhere on the plains gravel pits have been
successfully rehabilitated (Fig. 52). Aggregate has also
Supplies of aggregate in Canterbury are obtained been quarried from outcrops of greywacke (for example,
predominantly from greywacke gravel alluvium of the near Teddington; Fig. 53) and volcanic rocks (such as the
Canterbury Plains. About half of the gravel is extracted Halswell quarry; Fig. 34).
from active river beds, mainly the lower Waimakariri and
Ashley rivers, and half from out-of-channel quarries In the Chatham Islands, basalt, schist and semischist have
(Environment Canterbury 2006). Aggregate demand for been used in road construction, although the accessible
roading, construction, and major urban and agricultural resources are distant from the main settlements.

Figure 52 Revegetated gravel pits near Harewood, west of Christchurch. The unmodified surface (left foreground) shows
channel patterns from the former braidplain of the Waimakariri River. Christchurch International Airport is in the distance.
Photo CN24155/12: D.L. Homer.

48
Bentonite

Bentonite is a soft claystone rich in smectite clays, including


montmorillonite, that have swelling properties. Within
the Burnt Hill Group, Coalgate Bentonite is a freshwater
deposit derived from weathered basaltic ash that locally
overlies the Harper Hills Basalt (Carlson & Rodgers 1974).
It has been mined by opencast methods in the Harper Hills
near Hororata since 1968, mainly for use as a drilling mud.
There are substantial reserves (Wood et al. 1989; Wright
et al. 1989). Within Ashley Mudstone (Eyre Group),
sodium-rich bentonites derived from submarine alteration
of basaltic ash occur in sub-economic grades and quantities
in the Waipara and Motunau areas (Wright et al. 1989), but
deposits are commonly disrupted by landsliding.

Clay

Figure 53 Brown, weathered Rakaia terrane greywacke


Significant deposits of clay occur in the Malvern Hills,
is quarried for aggregate near Teddington at the head of particularly within the Broken River Formation (Speight
Lyttelton Harbour. The photo shows distorted bedding in 1928). A local pottery industry, established by 1872 in
sandstone and chert, and a surface layer of loess colluvium. the Whitecliffs-Glentunnel area, manufactured bricks,
Photo CN20886/20: D.L. Homer. glazed pottery, roofing tiles, chimney pots, fire bricks and
ornamental bricks. The Glentunnel potteries closed in 1983
but production continues on a smaller scale for brickmaking.
Rip-rap Most of the usable clays occur directly below coal seams,
and contain many impurities such as organic matter, fine
Rip-rap (armour stone), to protect the coast or river sand, mica and iron oxide (Christie et al. 2000).
banks from erosion, requires large blocks of hard
unfractured rock, generally more than 1 m in diameter. Loess on the Port Hills and Banks Peninsula has been
Limestone, volcanic rock and conglomerate within the Late quarried extensively for brick, tile and pipe manufacture
Cretaceous-Cenozoic sequence are potentially suitable for (Fig. 46), and at least 16 brickmaking plants have operated
rip-rap. Harper Hills Basalt from a quarry on the west around Christchurch (Brown & Weeber 1992). Loess has
side of Chalk Hill near Oxford is currently used for this also been used as a stabilising additive for roading purposes
purpose. Lyttelton Volcanic Group rocks have been used (Sewell et al. 1988).
for harbour reclamation/protection and mole construction
near Lyttelton. Large blocks of hard crystalline limestone Sand
from the Kekerione Group have been used for wharf and
other construction work in the Chatham Islands. Sand resources are widespread in the map area. They
include quartz sandstones within the Eyre Group and late
Limestone Quaternary dune sands. Quartz sand suitable for foundry
use occurs within the lower part of the Eyre Group at
Limestone is quarried for production of agricultural lime, several localities, and has been worked at Whitecliffs and
mainly from Amuri Limestone along the Canterbury range Omihi. Holocene dune sand provides an abundant resource
front. It typically contains between 70 and 84% CaCO3 for sandblasting and has been quarried near Birdlings Flat
(Wright et al. 1989) but in places up to 95% CaCO3 (Christie (Wright et al. 1989). Pits excavated in former Waimakariri
et al. 2001a). The main quarry at present is the White Rock River channels also provide Holocene sand for construction
Lime Quarry near Loburn although significant amounts of (Brown & Weeber 1992).
limestone have also been produced from quarries at Chalk
Hill near Oxford, and near Motunau Beach. Building stone

Easily worked, high-grade limestone (87-99% CaCO3) A comprehensive account of building stone quarried around
is quarried for agricultural purposes on both Chatham Christchurch is given by Hayward (1987). Volcanic rock
and Pitt islands, particularly from Te Whanga Limestone from Banks Peninsula provided the most popular building
(Kekerione Group) at Big Bush on Chatham (Fig. 37) and stones, including Diamond Harbour Volcanic Group rocks
Onoua Limestone (Mairangi Group) on Pitt (Campbell et at the Halswell quarry (Stoddart Basalt; Sewell et al.1988)
al. 1993). These limestones also have moderate phosphate and Port Levy (Sewell & Weaver 1990). Basalt and trachyte
content (Hay et al. 1970). of the Lyttelton Volcanic Group were used extensively in

49
public buildings of Christchurch (Fig. 54), and Charteris Metallic minerals
Bay Sandstone (Eyre Group) was also quarried for building
stone (Sewell et al.1988). Blocks of Lyttelton tuff and Speights 1928 assessment that the Malvern Hills are
agglomerate have also been used for building, although singularly deficient in metalliferous deposits of any
they commonly fritter where exposed to the weather value applies generally to the QMAP Christchurch area.
(Hayward 1987). Harper Hills Basalt from Glentunnel was Copper was prospected in the Selwyn Gorge in the 1880s
used for local buildings and for part of Christs College in (Speight 1928), where a 50-metre adit remains open today,
Christchurch (Speight 1928; Hayward 1987). In northern and elsewhere in the area where metavolcanic rocks occur
Canterbury, Oligocene to Early Miocene limestone has within greywacke. The copper occurs in carbonate and
been used locally (Field, Browne et al. 1989). silicate minerals (Speight 1928), but recent analyses only
yielded up to 35 ppm Cu (Wright et al. 1989). Manganese
Phosphate traces have been reported from High Peak Saddle (Malvern
Hills), possibly as oxide staining on chert (Speight 1928),
Extensive investigations of submarine phosphorite deposits but have no economic value.
on the Chatham Rise (Wood et al. 1989) show that they
are distributed over at least 400 km2 of the sea floor, some Warm springs
150 km west of the Chatham Islands. These have
accumulated as lag deposits, probably during the Miocene. Warm springs with temperatures of 2027C occur at
Estimated reserves are about 25 million tonnes, with an several sites underlain by Lyttelton Volcanic Group rocks
overall grade of 66 kg/m2 (Wood et al. 1989). Onshore around Banks Peninsula and the Avon-Heathcote estuary
deposits such as phosphatic nodules in Tioriori Group on (Mongillo & Clelland 1984; Wright et al. 1989). The water
the Chatham Islands, and at the base of the Motunau Group, has an isotopic composition similar to that of groundwater
have little economic potential. in alluvial aquifers under Christchurch, suggesting that

Figure 54 The Christchurch Arts Centre is constructed mainly of local volcanic rocks: Hoon Hay basalt and Port Hills
basalt (Lyttelton Volcanic Group), and Halswell basalt (Diamond Harbour Volcanic Group). The archway pillars are of
Timaru basalt and the white facings of Oamaru limestone (Hayward 1987). Photo CN21103/31: D. L. Homer.

50
the spring water percolates into Lyttelton Volcanic Group Urban water-supply wells within Christchurch city tap at
rocks from confined aquifers deep under the Canterbury least five confined aquifers, separated by less permeable
Plains (Sewell et al.1988; Sewell & Weaver 1990; Brown layers of silt, clay and peat, down to depths of 200 m or
& Weeber 1992). Neither the flows nor the temperatures more (Brown & Weeber 1992). The aquifers are mainly
of the springs are adequate for commercial development recharged from the Waimakariri River in the Halkett/
(Brown & Weeber 1992). McLeans Island area (Talbot et al. 1986; Brown & Weeber
1992). The geometry and characteristics of Christchurch
Groundwater aquifers are complex and are still being investigated (for
example, Weeber 2002; White 2007).
Groundwater is in great demand for domestic, agricultural
and industrial use in the Canterbury foothills and plains. Wells capable of yielding limited domestic and stock water
Little is known about the groundwater resources in the supplies can be drilled almost anywhere on the Canterbury
inland basins of Canterbury, but groundwater resources Plains, but larger volumes for irrigation (>1500 m3/day)
within Quaternary alluvial gravel of the Canterbury Plains are more difficult to find. Production wells, for domestic
are extensively utilised. These groundwater systems and stock supplies and increasingly for irrigation, are up to
typically have a shallow unconfined aquifer with a water 250 m deep, and many tap both shallow and deep aquifers.
table at less than 20 m depth and hydraulic connection There is increasing demand for deep groundwater, due
with any nearby surface water courses. Beneath the water to economic growth and because much of the shallow
table, deeper aquifer zones are typically found at depths groundwater resource is currently over-allocated
of 3080 m and 130160 m (Brown 2001). Groundwater (Aitchison-Earl et al. 2004). Basement rocks in the
yields tend to vary laterally over short distances, suggesting Canterbury ranges contain some groundwater in fractured
that localised channels of more permeable gravel are rock aquifers but these typically have very low permeability
a significant feature of the groundwater flow regime. and low yields. The volcanic rocks of Banks Peninsula
Confined aquifers typically occur closer to the coast, where also contain groundwater in fractures, and there are some
gravel strata are interbedded with fine-grained sediments semi-permanent springs fed from rain water. Water is
that restrict vertical groundwater flow. Groundwater generally of poorer quality and more sensitive to rainfall
movement beneath the plains is generally downward and fluctuations than water from the plains aquifers (Sewell et
seaward, whereas groundwater under pressure in confined al. 1988). Future resources may come from aquifers within
aquifers beneath the coastal area migrates upward where older, deeper, Quaternary gravel, and possibly within Late
possible (Brown & Weeber 1992). Cretaceous-Cenozoic sedimentary rocks, especially the
Kowai Formation.
Shallow groundwater levels vary seasonally in response
to winter rainfall recharge and summer irrigation usage, Hydrogeological studies on Chatham Island indicate that
and shallow aquifers may show considerable short-term groundwater of good quality could occur in the southern
fluctuations. Connections to surface water mean that part of the island within Pitt Island Group volcanic rocks
increased groundwater extraction may reduce flows in (Campbell et al. 1993), but this resource is remote from
rivers and springs, and also mean that groundwater is the main settlement areas. In the central part of the island
vulnerable to contamination. the groundwater is likely to be hard due to the influence of
limestone, and much of the surface water tends to be acidic
The shallow groundwater of the Canterbury Plains is where it drains from peaty areas. Most households on the
generally young. Dating and analysis of Canterbury Plains islands collect rain water from rooftop catchments.
groundwater (Stewart et al. 2002) show that most aquifer
recharge is from rainfall onto the plains, and from rivers Coal
and streams in the foothills and ranges to the west. In the
Christchurch city to West Melton area, and from there out Economically significant coal deposits occur only in the
towards Lake Ellesmere, the Waimakariri River is a major Broken River Formation. They have been worked at two
source of recharge to the aquifers (Talbot et al. 1986; Brown coalfields, one in the Malvern Hills and the other near
& Weeber 1992). Avoca in the upper Waimakariri basin.

Southwest of the Rakaia River, the Rangitata Diversion Coal seams were discovered in the Malvern Hills in 1851
Race has, since the 1940s, supplied an abundance of water and were being exploited as early as 1866. Over 70 mines
for irrigation. Excess water from regular flooding of operated within the Malvern Hills Coalfield over the next
paddocks (border dyke irrigation) has drained into the hundred years, but most were small and had a short life;
shallow aquifers, becoming a major source of groundwater only one is still working (Fig. 55). The two most important
recharge in this area (Brown 2001). All groundwater in mines were Homebush (18721938) and Klondyke
this area is very young, based on its nitrate content and on (19291972) with outputs of approximately 356 000
tritium dating (Stewart et al. 2002). In contrast, groundwater tonnes each (Duff & Barry 1989). The total coal-in-ground
from confined aquifers beneath Christchurch contains none resource has been estimated at 520 Mt, but the quantity of
of these human derivatives, and is thousands of years old potentially recoverable coal is estimated at less than 25 Mt,
according to radiocarbon dating (Stewart et al. 2002). of which only 1.52 Mt could be recoverable by opencast
methods (Duff & Barry 1989).

51
Malvern Hills coal has low sulphur and low to moderate holes drilled in the onshore map area include Chertsey-1
ash (Wright et al. 1989), and ranges in rank from lignite (1914-21), J.D. George-1 and Leeston-1 (1969), and the
A to sub-bituminous C, except in places where igneous more recent Kowai-1 (1978), Arcadia-1 (2000) and Kate-1
intrusions have raised the rank to semi-anthracite (Speight (2008) drillholes, which target anticlinal closures. Only
1928). Seams are typically lensoid and elongate in a NE/ Leeston-1 and Kowai-1 reached greywacke basement,
SW direction (Duff & Barry 1989). Up to five seams are and none of the holes found significant hydrocarbons.
present, from 12 m thick to an exceptional thickness of Traces of oil and a little inflammable gas were reported
9 m (Field, Browne et al. 1989). Some workings were in from Chertsey-1, but subsequent authors have been
small, faulted outliers (Speight 1928). sceptical (Field, Browne et al. 1989). An offshore drilling
programme between 1970 and 1985 included one drillhole
Coal seams in the upper Waimakariri basin occur in two areas, in the map area, Resolution-1 (1975), which ended in a
separated by a belt of Rakaia terrane rocks. Commercial Miocene basaltic sill related to Banks Peninsula volcanism.
mining has focused on the Avoca area, which is structurally The source rocks considered to have the most potential are
more complex than the adjacent Broken River area (Wright Clipper Formation (mid-Cretaceous, not exposed onshore),
et al. 1989). Avoca coal seams are lensoid and mostly less and Eyre Group (Broken River and Ashley Mudstone
than 5 m thick, although 7.5 m thick seams occur locally. formations). Younger rocks are invariably thermally
The coal is high in ash, sulphur and moisture. It is of sub- immature (Field, Browne et al. 1989).
bituminous B or A rank; as at Malvern, the coal locally
reaches semi-anthracite near igneous intrusions (Speight Petroleum exploration has also taken place on the
1920; Duff & Barry 1989). Between 1918 and 1928 the Mt Chatham Rise. The Cretaceous Waihere Bay Group on
Torlesse mines produced a total of 74 000 tonnes (Duff & the Chatham Islands, and inferred offshore equivalents, are
Barry 1989). An in-ground resource of 10 Mt in the Avoca potential source rocks (Wood et al. 1989). Geophysical
area (Duff & Barry 1989) is likely to be economic for small and geological data suggest that areas worthy of further
scale operations only. investigation extend from the Chatham Rise into the
Hikurangi and Bounty troughs (Wood et al. 1989; C.I.
Lignite occurs on Pitt Island in thin seams within Waihere Uruski, pers. comm. 2008).
Bay Group, where it has been used in local homes (Campbell
et al. 1993). The extensive peat deposits of Chatham Island were
investigated in the 1970s for their montan wax content, and
Hydrocarbons in the 1980s for their potential as a liquid fuel feedstock,
but no further work has been done. The potential yield
Canterbury has had a long history of unsuccessful of the four licence areas was assessed as about 60 million
petroleum exploration (Field, Browne et al. 1989). Wildcat barrels of oil (Richards 1987; Campbell et al. 1993).

Figure 55 Coal seams in Broken River Formation are mined by opencast methods at Nimmos Mine in the Malvern Hills
(2007 photograph).

52
GEOLOGICAL HAZARDS
Geological hazards within the Christchurch map area or Banks Peninsula (Anderson & Webb 1994; Fig. 56).
include earthquakes and related effects, landslides, floods, Seismicity at the Chatham Islands is low, with only four
erosion and sedimentation, tsunami and groundwater small earthquakes centred in that area since 1965. The
contamination. The general nature of these hazards is distribution of earthquakes is caused by the ongoing
summarised here, but the information in this map and collision between the Australian and Pacific plates that is
text is not detailed enough for site-specific geotechnical deforming and uplifting the Southern Alps, and the ranges
investigations or geological hazard zoning and assessments. of Canterbury and Marlborough (Stirling et al. 2001,
More detailed descriptions of hazards in the Christchurch 2002).
urban area are provided by Brown & Weeber (1992) and
Brown et al. (1995). Local authorities are responsible for Earthquakes are described in terms of Magnitude and
recording detailed hazard information, which is essential Modified Mercalli intensity. The Magnitude (M) scale ranks
for urban and rural planning purposes. earthquakes according to the total amount of energy released
at their point of origin. The installation of seismograph
Earthquakes networks in the 1940s allowed magnitudes to be calculated.
The magnitudes and locations of earlier historic earthquakes
Since European settlement, more significant earthquakes have been estimated using reported earthquake shaking
have originated beneath the Canterbury ranges and basins intensities. The Modified Mercalli intensity scale (MM;
and Pegasus Bay than beneath the Canterbury Plains see text box) describes how the effects of an earthquake

The Modified Mercalli intensity scale (MM)


The Modified Mercalli intensity scale (summarised from Downes (1995), Dowrick (1996) and Hancox et al. (2002) is a
descriptive scale used to rank the intensity of an earthquake at a particular location. The intensity of any earthquake
will vary from place to place, because of factors such as distance from the epicentre and localised differences in
ground conditions (for example, shaking will be much greater on swampy ground than on solid rock).

MM 2 Felt by people at rest, on upper floors or favourably placed.

MM 3 Felt indoors; hanging objects may swing, vibration similar to passing of light trucks.

MM 4 Generally noticed indoors but not outside. Light sleepers may be awakened. Vibration like passing of heavy
traffic. Doors and windows rattle. Walls and frames of buildings may be heard to creak.

MM 5 Generally felt outside, and by almost everyone indoors. Most sleepers awakened. A few people alarmed.
Some glassware and crockery may be broken. Open doors may swing.

MM 6 Felt by all. People and animals alarmed. Many run outside. Furniture or objects may move on smooth
surfaces. Objects fall from shelves. Glassware and crockery broken. Slight damage to some types of buildings. A few
cases of chimney damage. Loose material may be dislodged from sloping ground. A few very small (e.g. <1000 m3)
shallow landslides and rockfalls occur.

MM 7 General alarm. Furniture and appliances may be shifted and unstable items overturned. Unreinforced stone
and brick walls cracked. Some pre-earthquake code buildings damaged. Roof tiles may be dislodged. Many domestic
chimneys broken. Small falls of sand and gravel banks. Some fine cracks appear in sloping ground and ridge crests.
Rockfalls from steep slopes and cuttings are common. A few small to moderate landslides (e.g. 1 000 to 10 000 m3)
occur on steeper slopes. Some instances of liquefaction at susceptible sites.

MM 8 Alarm may approach panic. Steering of cars greatly affected. Some serious damage to pre-earthquake code
masonry buildings. Most reinforced domestic chimneys damaged, many brought down. Monuments and elevated
tanks twisted or brought down. Some post-1980 brick veneer dwellings damaged. Houses not secured to foundations
may move. Cracks may appear on slopes and in wet ground. On slopes in steep or weak ground, numerous small
to moderate landslides and some large landslides (e.g. 100 000 m3). Collapse of roadside cuttings and unsupported
excavations. Small sand fountains and other instances of liquefaction.

MM 9 Very poor quality unreinforced masonry destroyed. Pre-earthquake code masonry buildings heavily damaged
or collapse. Damage or distortion to some pre-1980 buildings and bridges. Houses not secured to foundations shifted
off. Brick veneers fall and expose framing. Conspicuous cracking of flat and sloping ground. On steep slopes, many
small to large landslides and some very large (>1 000 000 m3) landslides and rock avalanches that may block narrow
valleys and form lakes. Liquefaction effects intensified, with large sand fountains and extensive cracking or settlement
of weak ground.

MM 10 Most unreinforced masonry structures destroyed. Many pre-earthquake code buildings destroyed. Many
pre-1980 buildings and bridges seriously damaged. Many post-1980 buildings and bridges moderately damaged or
permanently distorted. Widespread cracking of flat and sloping ground. Widespread and severe landsliding on sloping
ground. Very large landslides (>106m3) from steep mountain faces and coastal cliffs. Widespread and severe liquefaction.

53
1901 Cheviot
1951
Cheviot 1965
1929 Arthur's Pass Chatham
Rise
1922 Motunau
1995 Cass

1881 Castle Hill

1987
Pegasus Bay

1869
Christchurch

1870 Lake Ellesmere

Shallow Earthquakes
0 50
MAGNITUDE
Kilometres 4.1 - 5.0
5.1 - 6.0
N
Active fault 6.1 - 7.0

Highway 7.1 - 9.0

!
(!
( ! !
( ((!
( !
( !
(! Figure 56 A: Locations of shallow earthquakes
!
( (!
((
! (!
(!
(!
( !
! !
(!
(!(!!
(
(!
(
!
( (
!
( !
(!
(
!
!
(
!
( !
(!
( !
(
!
(
!
(
!
(!
!
(
!
(!
( (less than 40 km depth) with magnitudes greater
!
(! !
(!
(
!
!
(
(!
( !
( !
( !
(!
( ( !
( !
(
(!
(!
( ! ( ! ( than M 4 from January 1943 to March 2008. Also
(!
!(!
(! (
!
(!(! !
(
!
(
!
((!
!(
!
( shown are known significant earthquakes (generally
(!
!
(
!
((
!
( !!
((
!
(
magnitude M 5 and larger) between 1840 and 1942.
!
(
( !
! ( Seismic activity is greatest in the zone of plate
!
(!(! (
boundary deformation in the Canterbury ranges
Deep
!
( Earthquakes and basins and northern Pegasus Bay. Some small
earthquakes are aftershocks associated with larger
M>4 earthquake events. Note that the earthquake record
prior to 1900 is incomplete.
B: Deep earthquakes (greater than 40 km) with
magnitudes greater than M 4, since 1943. Deep
events have been concentrated near the subduction
zone beneath the northern South Island.
Adapted from the New Zealand Earthquake
B Catalogue (2008).

54
are experienced at particular locations. The MM intensity and liquefaction occurred at Leithfield Beach and Waikuku
level is determined from the effects of shaking on people, Beach (Downes 1995). Also felt widely in the Christchurch
fittings, structures and the environment. Although the map area, but causing little damage, were the 1929 Arthurs
scale goes up to level 12 (total destruction), MM10 is the Pass, 1946 Lake Coleridge, 1951 Cheviot, 1968 Inangahua,
highest intensity that has been reliably observed in New 1994 Arthurs Pass and 1995 Cass earthquakes (Downes
Zealand. The MM intensity generally diminishes with 1995; Pettinga et al. 2001).
increasing distance from the earthquake epicentre, but is
also influenced by soil conditions and topography. A longer pre-history of large earthquakes is preserved in
late Quaternary fault scarps (Fig. 57), some of which show
Little is known of pre-European earthquakes, but six shallow repeated fault ruptures (for example, Pettinga et al. 2001;
earthquakes of moderate size have originated beneath the Howard et al. 2005). Recurrence intervals are thought
Christchurch map area since European settlement (Fig. 56). to range from about 1300 years to more than 5000 years,
In June 1869, an earthquake with shaking intensities up although detailed rupture histories are known for only a few
to MM7 and possibly MM8 brought down chimneys and faults. Folds or warps that buckle the ground surface are
damaged masonry in parts of Christchurch city (Elder et thought to develop over active faults at depth. In northern
al. 1991). The earthquake was centred at shallow depth Pegasus Bay, Quaternary faults and related folds beneath
beneath the city, and may have been up to magnitude M5.8 the sea floor have been revealed by geophysical surveys.
(Pettinga et al. 2001; Stirling et al. 2001; NZ Earthquake These structures have low rates of activity, with estimated
Catalogue 2008). Further chimney damage occurred in rupture recurrence intervals up to tens of thousands of years
Christchurch and Lyttelton during an earthquake in August (Barnes 1996).
1870 that was felt from Greymouth to Dunedin. Stirling
et al. (2001) used felt reports to assign a location beneath Future moderate to large earthquakes can be expected
Lake Ellesmere and a magnitude of M6.5, although recent on active faults in the Christchurch map area, resulting
research suggests that its magnitude may have been less in local damage. Large earthquakes may also occur on
(M5.8; NZ Earthquake Catalogue 2008). In December undetected faults that do not extend to the ground surface,
1881, an M6 earthquake centred in the Castle Hill basin with deformation involving surface folding rather than
was felt widely in the South Island. It caused damage to faulting. Major earthquakes originating further afield, for
chimneys in Christchurch and to the spire of Christchurch instance on the Alpine or Hope faults, are expected to cause
Cathedral (Eiby 1968; Stirling et al. 2001). In September significant ground shaking within the map area.
1974, a M5.1 earthquake centred north of Loburn produced
felt intensities of MM4 in northern Canterbury and
Christchurch (Seismological Observatory 1974), while a
M5.2 earthquake near Ashley Gorge in July 1986 generated
local intensities up to MM5 (Seismological Observatory
1986). In March 1987, a M5.2 earthquake centred beneath
Pegasus Bay 50 km northeast of New Brighton produced
intensities up to MM7. Paving was cracked in New Brighton,
while chimneys were damaged and items fell from shelves
in nearby areas (Seismological Observatory 1987; Downes
1995). A shallow M4.5 earthquake centred under Halswell
in September 1971 was close enough to Christchurch to
cause felt intensities up to MM5, with reports of minor
damage (Seismological Observatory 1971).

More commonly, damaging levels of shaking experienced


in the Christchurch map area have been caused by
earthquakes centred further afield. On 1 September 1888,
a major earthquake (M7.1; Smith & Berryman 1986;
Cowan 1991) centred on the Hope Fault in the Hanmer
region was felt throughout the South Island. Chimneys
were damaged in northeastern Christchurch city and minor
rockfalls occurred around Lyttelton Harbour. The upper
8 m of the Christchurch Cathedral spire collapsed (Cowan
1991). A large earthquake (M6.8) centred near Cheviot in
November 1901 was felt widely in central New Zealand
and caused widespread damage in northern Canterbury,
including ground liquefaction near Kaiapoi (Berrill et al.
Figure 57 Ruptures of the Ashley Fault have produced a
1994; Stirling et al. 2001; NZ Earthquake Catalogue 2008). zone of fault scarps across Q2 and older river terraces north
In the 25 December 1922 M6.4 earthquake centred near of the Ashley River at Loburn. The main fault scarps are
Motunau, chimneys collapsed from Cheviot to Rangiora indicated by red arrows. Photo CN3563/4: D.L. Homer.

55
Table 2 Estimated return periods for earthquake shaking events at selected locations in the Christchurch map area (W.
Smith, pers. comm. 2008) derived from the New Zealand seismic hazard model (Stirling et al. 2002). The table indicates
that, for example, earthquake shaking of MM6 is likely to be experienced once in a 25-year period at all these localities,
and possibly twice at Springfield or Amberley, whereas MM9 shaking may be experienced once in 900 years at Springfield
but only once in 9000 years in Christchurch.

Intensity Mean return period (years)


Christchurch Ashburton Springfield Amberley
MM6 17 21 11 12
MM7 76 97 36 38
MM8 630 730 190 200
MM9 9300 9300 910 1300

Currently it is not possible to predict earthquakes. Rather, a are particularly unstable. Mobilisation of these mudstones
statistical approach of probabilistic seismic hazard analyses has commonly disrupted the overlying limestone, forming
(Stirling et al. 2001, 2002) provides estimates of how blocky earthflows (Fig. 8). Many deep-seated landslides
frequently, on average, various levels of shaking intensity are ancient, natural features of the landscape. Most of
from all potential earthquake sources can be expected to the larger ones probably evolved over long periods (for
recur at specific locations (Table 2). example, the late Quaternary). Their movements may occur
either as progressive creep or in episodic events separated
Ground shaking is amplified on weak ground, particularly by dormant phases, controlled primarily by erosion at the
where unconsolidated sediments are more than 20 m thick, foot of the slope.
such as beneath estuaries or river plains. These conditions
apply for much of urban Christchurch. Amplification may Landslides, especially rock avalanches, may dam water
increase shaking intensity by one or two MM intensity courses creating further potential hazards including dam-
levels compared with nearby areas underlain by hard rock break floods, debris flows, and downstream sedimentation.
(McVerry et al. 2006). Liquefaction, where water-saturated The Waimakariri (Otarama) gorge is potentially subject
soils and sediments temporarily change from a solid to to such hazards (Yetton 2004). Similar hazards exist at
a liquid state, is a common effect of strong earthquake smaller scales within many river or stream valleys in hill
ground shaking and can cause severe damage to buildings country, such as on Banks Peninsula and in the Canterbury
and embankments. Liquefaction may occur in response ranges and basins.
to shaking intensities of MM6 or higher, and was reported
near Pegasus Bay in the 1901 and 1922 earthquakes. An Erosion, flooding and sedimentation
additional hazard is the physical rupture or buckling of the
ground surface at a fault during an earthquake. Structures Flooding and sedimentation hazards exist on the active
very close to active faults or folds are potentially at risk parts of alluvial plains. Frequent natural changes in
from ground surface deformation. channel course are characteristic of the types of rivers that
have built the Canterbury Plains. Land near the lower
Landslides reaches of the Waimakariri and Ashley rivers is particularly
susceptible to over-bank flooding and sedimentation
Landslides are a potential hazard in the downlands, hills hazards (for example, Brown & Weeber 1992; Canterbury
and mountains of the Christchurch map area. Quaternary Regional Council 1995). The Waimakariri alluvial plain
deposits, especially loess or colluvium, and weak Late extends south to Lake Ellesmere, and the present course
Cretaceous to Pliocene rocks may be unstable on moderate of the river near Kaiapoi is at the northern edge of its
slopes, whereas harder Paleozoic or Mesozoic rocks are Holocene floodplain. The Halswell, Heathcote, Avon
commonly stable in quite steep slopes. However, several and Styx are spring-fed rivers lying in former channels
prehistoric rock avalanches have occurred from steep of the Waimakariri, and the Avon-Heathcote Estuary is a
mountain slopes in basement rocks, notably at Mt Binser former Waimakariri mouth. The modern beds of the lower
and Lake Pearson. Waimakariri and Ashley rivers are artificially narrow, held
in place by engineered embankments (stopbanks) intended
Ground saturation is a contributing factor in most shallow- to contain flood and sediment flows, and allow development
seated landslides, for example, those on Banks Peninsula on the former floodplains. Before these flood protection
involving loess and colluvium. Deep-seated landslides works, Waimakariri floodwaters overflowed near Halkett
occur particularly within Late Cretaceous to Pliocene rocks, and spread down old channels to reach the Avon four times
and are related to the composition and strength of the rock between 1848 and 1868 (Brown & Weeber 1992). The
materials. Many are complex features initiated on bedding lower reaches of most rivers are confined to some extent
planes, and may include translational slides, rotational by stopbanks. The Eyre River has been artificially diverted
slumps and plastic flows. Bentonitic mudstones underlying into the Waimakariri, and a canal diverts the lower Halswell
limestones in the northern part of the Christchurch map area River more directly into Lake Ellesmere.
56
Alluvial fans commonly occur at the margins of basins and such as vegetation clearance and poor management of
valleys throughout the Canterbury range and basin area surface drainage may greatly accelerate tunnel gully
and in parts of Banks Peninsula. These dynamic landforms development (Brown & Weeber 1992).
grow during episodic severe rainstorms, often by flash
debris floods that deposit sediment rapidly and may cause Tsunami
sudden changes in stream courses.
Tsunami are waves or surges generated when a large
Coastal erosion affects the Canterbury Bight shoreline volume of water is rapidly displaced. The most common
from Taumutu southwards, with average coastal cliff causes of tsunami are large earthquakes that rupture and
retreat rates of between about 0.3 and 3 mm/yr (Gibb 1978; displace the sea bed, submarine or coastal landslides, and
Fig. 10). Erosion events happen mainly during periods of volcanic eruptions. Ocean tsunami generated by very
high tides with heavy seas. The shorelines of Kaitorete large earthquakes can cause life-threatening damage many
Spit, the bay-heads of Banks Peninsula, and Pegasus Bay thousands of kilometres from their source. In contrast,
are generally accreting, but the coastline near the Avon- tsunami generated by volcanoes and landslides generally
Heathcote Estuary is very dynamic, with alternating phases have only localised effects. There are many historical
of erosion and accretion (Gibb 1978; Findlay & Kirk 1988; records of damaging tsunami in the Christchurch map
McFadgen & Goff 2005). Significant sea-level rise may area (G.L. Downes, unpublished NZ Tsunami Database).
accelerate coastal erosion and increase flooding. Banks Peninsula and the Chatham Islands are particularly
susceptible to the effects of tsunami generated by South
A distinctive type of erosion hazard affects slopes underlain American subduction zone earthquakes, such as those of
by loess on Banks Peninsula and the Port Hills. Tunnel 1868, 1877 and 1960, because of the wave-guiding effects
gullies develop along cracks formed by wetting and drying of the Chatham Rise (Power et al. 2007).
of the soil; a peculiar property of loess, dispersivity, allows
subsurface erosion to occur within narrow channels up to In 1868, large waves reached Chatham Island from the
several metres deep (Fig. 51). Subsidence and collapse northeast. At Tupuangi the Maori settlement was washed
holes eventually pose potential hazards to buildings and away and the residents left destitute, while houses were
roadways. Although they form naturally, human factors destroyed at Waitangi West and Te Raki and at least one

Figure 58 Water poured into the dry dock at Lyttelton during several of the tidal surges from the May 1960 tsunami.
Photograph reproduced by permission of The Christchurch Star.

57
life was lost. Houses and boats were damaged at Waitangi, Shallow, unconfined groundwater is vulnerable to bacterial
and houses at Owenga about 10 m above high water mark (faecal coliform) contamination, but in Canterbury
were flattened. In Canterbury, many large waves ran up such contamination is rare in wells deeper than 50 m
the Waimakariri River at Kaiapoi, shifting the channel and (Hanson et al. 2006). Introduced nitrate is present at
bar, and damaging boats and property. Violent waves and moderate concentrations in much of the Canterbury Plains
substantial damage to shipping occurred at Lyttelton, where groundwater, and concentrations exceed drinking-water
tidal disturbances continued for three days. At Pigeon Bay standards in some wells. Groundwater recharged primarily
and Little Akaloa, incoming waves caused substantial by soil drainage generally has concentrations higher than
property damage and flooding over several days, and 3 mg/L, reflecting the influence of waste disposal activities,
washed away a bridge more than 3 km inland at Okains and an increase in cropping and fertiliser use after about
Bay (Downes, unpublished). 1950 (Hanson 2002; Smith & Hanson 2006; Stewart et al.
2002). East of Ashburton, localised nitrate contamination
The 1877 tsunami was widely reported on Banks Peninsula has been linked to meat works effluent (Hayward & Hanson
but caused less damage than that of 1868. The 1960 tsunami 2004).
caused abnormal tidal surges at the port of Lyttelton (Fig.
58) and damage at Teddington, where the hotel and farm Arsenic contamination occurs in areas with reducing
land were flooded and stock drowned. Successive surges groundwater conditions, such as South Brighton Spit
flooded buildings on the waterfront at Charteris Bay, Purau, and Woodend-Waikuku, which also tend to have high
Port Levy and Akaroa, and the main road bridge at Okains concentrations of ammonia, iron and manganese (Smith &
Bay was again destroyed. From Sumner to Kaiapoi there Hanson 2006). Because of this association, and its detection
were reports of abnormal tide levels, channel scouring, in wells up to 200 m deep, most arsenic is thought to occur
violent surges of water and damage to small craft. On naturally (Pattle Delamore Partners Ltd 2001) but local
Chatham Island the sea washed some distance inland at arsenic contamination from timber treatment operations
Waitangi and Waitangi West (Downes, unpublished). has also been identified (Hayward 2002).

Local earthquakes may also cause tsunami or other coastal Hydrocarbons have been detected in groundwater
effects although these typically affect smaller areas. For around industrial areas of Christchurch city, generally at
example, a large wave at Lyttelton and river bores in the concentrations below drinking-water standards (Smith &
Waimakariri, Avon and Heathcote resulted from the 1855 Hanson 2006). The main sources are probably industrial
M8.2 Wairarapa earthquake, and the 1922 M6.4 earthquake, sites, landfills, and leaking storage tanks. A hydrocarbon
centred near Motunau, caused seiching in Lyttelton Harbour leachate plume has been detected near a landfill in Kaiapoi
(Downes, unpublished). Rupture on offshore faults has the (Hayward & Smith 1999; Smith & Hanson 2006).
potential to cause large and damaging tsunami.
With increasing abstraction of groundwater, there is
Groundwater contamination potential for seawater intrusion into aquifers. Wells in the
coastal area of Christchurch city are monitored regularly
Unconfined aquifers are vulnerable to pollution from (for example, Smith & Hanson 2006), and some wells in
adjacent land use activities. Potential sources of the Woolston-Heathcote area show evidence of saltwater
contamination include landfills, underground storage tanks, intrusion (Hertel 1998; Charteris & Ettema 1999). Recent
sewerage systems, fertiliser use, chemical spills and saltwater monitoring suggests that reducing groundwater usage can
intrusion (Weeber 2002), and aquifer contamination around reverse the process (Ettema 2005).
Christchurch city has been extensively researched.

58
AVAILABILITY OF QMAP DATA
The geological map accompanying this booklet is based on The data record maps on which the digital geology is
information stored in the QMAP Geographic Information based are filed at the GNS Science office in Dunedin and,
System maintained by GNS Science. The data on the map although unpublished, are available for consultation. The
are a subset of available information. Other single or multi- map units and geological legends used on the detailed maps
factor maps can be generated from the GIS, for example, are based on a lithostratigraphic mapping philosophy, and
maps showing single rock types, or mineral localities in may differ from those shown on this published QMAP
relation to host rocks. Other digital data sets which may sheet. The QMAP database will be maintained, and may
be integrated with the basic geology include gravity and be updated where new geologic mapping improves existing
magnetic surveys, active faults, earthquakes, landslides, information. For new or additional geological information,
mineral resources and localities (from GERM), fossil for prints of this map at other scales, for selected data or
localities (from FRED), and petrological samples (from combinations of data sets, or for derivative or single-factor
PETLAB). Data can be presented for user-defined areas or maps based on QMAP data, please contact:
within specified distances from roads or coastlines. Maps
can be produced at varying scales, bearing in mind the scale QMAP Leader
of data capture and the generalisation involved in digitising; GNS Science
maps produced at greater than 1:50 000 scale will not show P. O. Box 30 368
accurate, detailed geological information unless they are Lower Hutt
based on point data (for example, structural information).
If required, QMAP series maps can also be made available
in digital form, using standard data interchange formats.

ACKNOWLEDGMENTS
The map and text were compiled by Jane Forsyth, David (Massey University) kindly gave access to her PhD thesis.
Barrell and Richard Jongens. Useful discussions with P. Abraham facilitated access to reports in the Groundwater
J. Bradshaw, J. Campbell, P. Tonkin, A. Wandres and S. Resources Section library of Environment Canterbury.
Weaver (University of Canterbury), P. Almond (Lincoln
University), P. Robinson (University of Massachusetts Seismic reflection data was generously provided by D.
and Geological Survey of Norway), D. Lee (University of Bennett and S. Langdale of Austral Pacific Energy Ltd
Otago), C. Adams, J. Begg, H. Campbell, E. Kennedy, N. (formerly Indo-Pacific Energy), and C. Dorn and A. Green
Mortimer, I. Turnbull, R. Wood (GNS Science), T. Webb of ETH Zurich. Unpublished openfile petroleum reports
(Landcare Research) and J. Schmidt (NIWA) improved the were sourced from Crown Minerals, Ministry of Economic
map and text. G. Downes gave access to the unpublished Development. Topographic and cultural data were sourced
New Zealand Tsunami Database. P. Johnson (Landcare from Land Information New Zealand (Crown copyright
Research), J. Begg, G. Leonard, M. Rattenbury, M. Terezow, reserved).
D. Townsend and I. Turnbull (GNS Science) provided
photographs for the text. J. McCloy at Port of Lyttelton NIWA is thanked for providing access to the bathymetry
kindly provided the photograph in Figure 58. Photographs contours, and the offshore fault data developed by the
not otherwise credited are taken by the authors. FRST-funded Consequences of Earth Ocean Change
programme (CO1X0203). In particular we thank Geoffroy
Field assistance was provided by J. Begg, T. Cross, H. Fraser, Lamarche.
P. Glassey, J. Lee, G. Leonard, M. Johnston, H. Phipps, M.
Rattenbury and D. Townsend. For transport to remote areas All or parts of the map and text were reviewed by J. Begg,
we used Christchurch Helicopters and Waimak Alpine Jets. G. Browne, H. Campbell, S. Cox, B. Field, P. Glassey,
The numerous landowners and runholders within the map M. Isaac, N. Mortimer, A. Nicol, M. Rattenbury and I.
area are thanked for allowing access in particular Selwyn Turnbull (GNS Science); K. Bassett, J. Bradshaw, S.
Plantation Board, Flock Hill, Craigieburn, Mt White, Weaver (University of Canterbury), D. Lee (University of
Landco (Lees Valley), Richon, Kowai Bush, Mt Torlesse, Otago) and M. Johnston.
Brooksdale, Annavale, Dalethorpe, Flagpole, Hartley
Hills, High Peaks, Steventon, and Gowan Lea and the Development and maintenance of the ARC/INFO GIS
Department of Conservation for a Research and Collection database were by B. Smith Lyttle, R. Jongens, D. Heron
Permit. and M. Rattenbury. Digitising and data capture were by
K. Lyttle, B. Smith Lyttle, R. Jongens and H. Fraser. The
For access to university theses and other unpublished text was edited and prepared for publication by J. Aitken,
information, such as the North Canterbury GIS, we thank P. Murray and P. Carthew.
the University of Canterbury in particular A. Wandres, J.
Pettinga and S. Weaver of the Department of Geological Funding for the QMAP project is provided by the
Sciences and the library staff of the Department of Foundation for Research Science and Technology under
Geography. Further thanks are due to the Agriculture contracts C05X0206 and C05X0401.
and Life Sciences Division of Lincoln University. K. Holt
59
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This map illustrates the geology of the Christchurch area, which includes the plains and foothills north
and west of Christchurch city, as well as Banks Peninsula, at a scale of 1:250 000. The Chatham Islands,
which lie 850 km to the east, are also included. The map is one of a series initiated in 1996, which will
cover all of New Zealand. Geological information has been obtained from published and unpublished
mapping by researchers from GNS Science, NIWA, universities and the hydrocarbon exploration
industry. All geological data are held in a Geographic Information System, available in digital format on
request. The accompanying illustrated text summarises the geology, landforms, and tectonic history of
the area, as well as the geological resources and potential geological hazards.

The basement rock of the whole region comprises Late Paleozoic and Mesozoic sedimentary rocks of
the Torlesse composite terrane, which are metamorphosed to schist on the Chatham Islands. A blanket
of Late Cretaceous to Pliocene sedimentary rocks was deposited across the region. This sedimentary
sequence was punctuated by unconformities and volcanic episodes, including the building of large
volcanoes at the Chatham Islands and on Banks Peninsula. Unconsolidated Quaternary sediments are
widespread in the Canterbury basins, plains, and offshore area, and on the Chatham Islands. The
effects of Pliocene and Quaternary tectonic deformation are evident in the landscape north and west of
Christchurch city, and many active faults or folds are recognised. The main geological resources are
aggregate, limestone, clay and coal, and there is some potential for hydrocarbon discoveries.
Groundwater resources beneath the Canterbury Plains are substantial, but are vulnerable to
contamination. The Christchurch area is subject to earthquake hazards, while slope instability is
widespread in hill areas. Low-lying coastal areas are vulnerable to tsunami.

Rhythmically bedded sandstone and siltstone of Rakaia terrane are buckled into chevron folds on
the west bank of the Waimakariri River near Kowai Bush.

ISBN 978-0-478-19649-8
Photo: D. J. A. Barrell

9 780478 196498
ISBN 978-0-478-19649-8