Coastal Restoration Trust of New Zealand

Coastal Dune Ecosystem Reference Database

A Holocene incised valley infill sequence developed on a tectonically active coast: Pakarae River, New Zealand Journal Paper

Wilson, K.; Berryman, K.; Cochran, U.; Little, T.
Journal / Source
Sedimentary Geology
A sequence of fluvio-estuarine sediments exposed beneath the highest Holocene marine terrace at Pakarae, North Island, New Zealand, records the early-mid Holocene infilling of the Pakarae valley. This sequence was developed on an active, coseismically uplifting coastline and provides a valuable comparison to widely used facies models for estuaries, which were developed exclusively from stable coastal settings. We describe eight sedimentary sections, distributed along a 220 m stretch of riverbank and present twelve new radiocarbon ages. Sedimentology and benthic foraminifera are used to divide the sequence into eight bio-lithofacies. These units are grouped into four paleoenvironmental facies associations: barrier, estuarine, estuary-head delta and floodplain. We compare the distribution of the Pakarae paleoenvironmental facies associations to those in models of incised valley infill sequence models and case studies of infilled valleys. These data allow us to present new contributions to the development of a facies model for the sedimentary infilling of an incised valley system that was experiencing coseismic uplift synchronous with deposition. We suggest the distinctive characteristics of such a model would include (1) part, or all, of the transgressive and lowstand sequences may now lie above modern sea level, (2) the transgressive sedimentary sequence is typically condensed relative to the coeval amount of eustatic sea level (SL) rise that occurred during that period, and (3) evidence of relative SL falls, such as transitions from estuarine to fluvial environments, despite conditions of rapid and continuous eustatic SL rise.