Story: Geology – overview

Coastal cliffs near Hāwera

Coastal cliffs near Hāwera

Along a distance of 85 kilometres between Whanganui and Hāwera, the coastal cliffs show almost continuous exposure of layers of sediments ranging in age from 3.5 million to 700,000 years old. Because it is one of the most complete sequences of rocks of this age anywhere in the world, it has been comprehensively studied and sampled.

The aerial photograph shows the cliffs near Hāwera, where the older part of the sequence is exposed. The rocks, named the Tangahoe Formation, consist of thick alternating beds of siltstone and sandstone, and contain fossils.

The flat plateau above the cliffs is a marine terrace – a remnant of an old shore platform cut by waves about 125,000 years ago. It has been preserved by uplift during many past earthquakes

Using this item

GNS Science
Reference: CN47444/16
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 - Quaternary coasts and rivers', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 19 June 2024)

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