Re-initiation of plutonism at the Gondwana margin after a magmatic hiatus: The bimodal Permian-Triassic Longwood Suite, New Zealand

A. J. McCoy-West, N. Mortimer, K. W. Burton, T. R. Ireland, P. A. Cawood

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The Cambrian to Cretaceous Tuhua Intrusives, New Zealand, preserve an igneous record of Phanerozoic subduction and crustal growth at the margin of Gondwana. Within the Tuhua Intrusives, the coeval gabbroic and trondhjemitic intrusions of the c. 261–243 Ma Longwood Suite stand out as being isotopically more primitive and chemically distinct from all other New Zealand plutonic suites. We present new U-Pb crystallization ages, trace element analyses and Sr-Nd isotope compositions of the Longwood Suite. U-Pb SHRIMP zircon ages of 258.5 ± 2.5 Ma, 256.0 ± 1.8 Ma, 247.8 ± 2.7 Ma and 243.2 ± 2.4 Ma obtained from plutons on Ruapuke Island, and a dike at Bluff, affirm the restricted time range and expand the known areal extent of the Longwood Suite. Longwood Suite granitoids are I-type and sodic (K/Na < 0.4), with distinctive low Rb and Nb/Ta, flat rare earth element patterns (La/YbN < 10), unradiogenic 87Sr/86Sr(t) (0.7029 to 0.7032) and radiogenic ε143Nd(t) (+6.3 to +8.2), compared to the nearby, calc-alkaline, Late Triassic Darran Suite I-type plutons of the Tuhua Intrusives. Stable Nd isotope ratios of Longwood Suite samples are highly variable (δ146/144Nd = 233 ppm) compared to global plutonic rocks (δ146/144Nd = 44 ppm) and reflect the removal of phosphate minerals. Collectively, these geochemical characteristics are consistent with generation of the granitoids by shallow (garnet-absent) melting of an amphibolitic residue, from which we infer relatively thin lithosphere. The Longwood Suite has a maximum areal addition rate of 43 km2/Ma, substantially less than the subsequent plutonic suites when the magmatic arc was fully established. We suggest a petrotectonic model whereby Gondwana continental margin crust was tectonically underplated by Permian intra-oceanic island arc crust and mantle lithosphere, which subsequently melted to generate the isotopically primitive gabbro and trondhjemite plutons of the Longwood Suite.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)432-449
JournalGondwana Research
Publication statusPublished - May 2022


  • Brook street terrane
  • Darran suite
  • Longwood suite
  • Radiogenic Sr-Nd
  • Separation point suite
  • Stable Nd
  • Trondhjemite
  • U-Pb geochronology

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