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Preservation of a Late Glacial terrestrial and Holocene estuarine record on the margins of Kaipara Harbour, Northland, New Zealand

by Mark Horrocks last modified 2009-05-02 04:47 PM

Nichol S, Deng Y, Horrocks M, Zhou W, Hume T. 2009. Journal of the Royal Society of New Zealand 39, 1-14.


Subtidal to intertidal deposits from the margins of Kaipara Harbour in Northland preserve a ~23,000 year incomplete sedimentary record of the transition from terrestrial to estuarine conditions. Cores are used to reconstruct the depositional setting for this transition, interpreted as a succession from dune and freshwater wetland to shallow estuarine environments.

The fossil pollen record provides a proxy of Last Glacial Maximum and Late Glacial vegetation for the area. Stability of the Pleistocene dune landscape during the postglacial marine transgression is interpreted on the basis of strong dominance of tall forest taxa (Dacrydium) in the pollen record and soil development in dune sands, with preservation aided by location along the estuary margin. During the Holocene, reworking of the buried dune and wetland sediments has only reached to a depth of 1.5 m below the modern tidal flat. As such, the site provides a rare example of good preservation of Pleistocene deposits at the coast, where extensive reworking and loss of record are more typical.


Stratigraphy, sediments, palynology, 14C dating, transgression, New Zealand.

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