Wellington’s Tectonic Landscape: Astride a Plate Boundary

  • Michael J. Crozier
  • Nicholas J. Preston


The landscape of the Wellington Region is dominated by ongoing tectonic activity as the Pacific plate converges with and subducts beneath the continental Australian plate, at a rate of 40 mm per year. Within the last few million years, this activity has block-faulted, deformed, and uplifted a former erosion surface whose tilted remnants can be found at elevations ranging up to 1,000 m a.s.l. Relict marine benches and a series of raised beaches provide a record of sea-level change and coseismic uplift – the most spectacular being a series of five raised Holocene beach ridges. The amount of vertical uplift experienced by these individual beach ridges ranged between 3 and 9 m, during their respective initial uplift events. Fluvial modification of this landscape has been strongly influenced by fault movement, producing shutter ridges, faceted spurs, offset drainage patterns, while glacial cycles have seen the dominant subaerial processes shift between fluvial and periglacial regimes.


Erosion surface faults glacial cycles New Zealand raised beaches tectonics 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael J. Crozier
    • 1
  • Nicholas J. Preston
    • 1
  1. 1.Victoria University of WellingtonWellingtonNew Zealand

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