Story: Limestone country

Limestone and marble distribution

Limestone and marble are scattered throughout New Zealand. Most of the limestone formed in the Oligocene Period (32–22 million years ago). The marble of north-west Nelson formed much earlier – in the Ordovician Period (490–443 million years ago). Karst landscapes do not occur in all areas of limestone and marble. The limestone or marble must be relatively pure, the rainfall high and the terrain hilly. The main karst areas are the King Country in the North Island; around Punakaiki and north of Karamea on the West Coast; and around Mt Arthur, Mt Owen and Tākaka Hill in north-west Nelson.

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Source: Soons, J. M., and M. J. Selby, eds. Landforms of New Zealand. Auckland: Longman Paul, 1992, figures 11.1a and 11.1b.

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How to cite this page:

Paul Williams, 'Limestone country - Limestone, dolomite and marble', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, (accessed 17 September 2019)

Story by Paul Williams, published 24 Sep 2007