From Gondwana to the Ice Age: The geological development of New Zealand over the last 100 million years

From Gondwana to the Ice Age cover thumbnail

Malcolm Laird and John Bradshaw

July 2020
312pp, including 16pp colour, paperback
280 x 210mm
ISBN: 978-1-927145-99-9

Until about 100 million years ago, New Zealand lay on the Pacific-facing edge of the ancient supercontinent of Gondwana; the formation of our sedimentary rocks provides a fascinating view of the tectonic activity and changes since that time. This volume is the culmination of a comprehensive survey of New Zealand’s Cretaceous–Cenozoic strata, begun in 1978, and presents an up-to-date synthesis and interpretation of regional sedimentary information from a variety of sources; the study has been expanded to include large areas of the continental shelf and beyond. Extensive references and indexing complete this essential work, a key resource for students, professional geologists and enthusiastic amateurs.

Topics covered include:

  • sedimentary basins during the Cretaceous continental margin break-up;
  • the active tectonics of a ‘passive margin’;
  • Late Cenozoic sedimentary basins in a new, evolving plate boundary;
  • eustatic sea-level change in an active tectonic setting;
  • basin scale and facies change on the new and thin continent Zealandia.

Malcolm Laird (1935–2015) graduated from Auckland University in 1962 and joined the New Zealand Geological Survey. In 1966 he was granted leave to complete a D.Phil. at Oxford, which focused on the sedimentology of Silurian rocks in western Ireland. On return to New Zealand, he commenced research on the sedimentary basins of the West Coast of the South Island; this later expanded to cover the whole of New Zealand and culminated in the management of a major project on the Cretaceous and Cenozoic basins of the New Zealand region. These studies produced a massive volume of data and publications, which the present book draws together. His work on New Zealand basins was complemented by studies of Paleozoic rocks in the Transantarctic Mountains and interpretation of Cenozoic rocks from offshore drilling in McMurdo Sound.

John Bradshaw studied geology at London University and completed a PhD on the Precambrian and Paleozoic rocks of western Finistere in 1963. He joined the Geology Department of the University of Canterbury in 1966 where he remained until 2009. He initially worked on the Mesozoic accretionary complex of the Southern Alps. At the same time he became interested, along with Malcolm Laird, in the Paleozoic rocks of Antarctica. Later, these two strands merged into a broader study of the tectonics of the Pacific margin of the Gondwana continent from New Zealand through Antarctica and into South America. His research on Cretaceous tectonic changes and continental break-up led to further collaboration with Malcolm and the invitation to work with him on this book. John was a long-serving member of the Ross Dependency Research Committee and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand.