Story: Geology – overview

Pillow lavas

Pillow lavas

Spectacular pillow lavas are exposed in coastal cliffs near Ōamaru, in a sequence of limestones deposited in the Eocene and Oligocene periods. They are formed when molten lava is gently erupted on the sea floor and suddenly chilled. Each pillow has a dark skin of volcanic glass and a centre of grey basalt. The pale limestone between the pillows originated as lime mud on the sea floor.

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GNS Science
Reference: CN33409/24
Photograph by Lloyd Homer

Permission of GNS Science must be obtained before any use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Eileen McSaveney and Simon Nathan, 'Geology – overview - New Zealand breaks away from Gondwana', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/photograph/8323/pillow-lavas (accessed 18 October 2017)

Story by Eileen McSaveney and Simon Nathan, published 12 Jun 2006