The APPEA Journal The APPEA Journal Society
Journal of the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA)
RESEARCH ARTICLE

MAPPING THE PLATE TECTONIC RECONSTRUCTION OF SOUTHERN AND SOUTHEASTERN AUSTRALIA AND IMPLICATIONS FOR PETROLEUM SYSTEMS

M.S. Norvick and M.A. Smith

The APPEA Journal 41(1) 15 - 35
Published: 2001

Abstract

Southern Australian breakup history is divisible into three phases. The first phase began with Callovian (c.159–165 Ma) rifting in the western Bight Basin. During the Tithonian (c.142–146 Ma), rifting extended eastwards into the Duntroon, Otway and Gippsland Basins. By the Valanginian (c.130–135 Ma), ocean crust formed between India and western Australia. Structural style in the western Bight changed to thermal subsidence. However, fluvio-lacustrine rift sedimentation continued in Duntroon, Otway and Gippsland until the Barremian (c.115–123 Ma) when these basins also changed to thermal subsidence. The diachronous progression of basin fill types produces a progressive shift in ages of potential source, seal and reservoir intervals along the margin.

The second phase began during the Cenomanian (c.92–97.5 Ma) with uplift in eastern Australia, stress reorganisation and divergence of basin development. The Otway, Sorell and Great South Basins formed in a transtensional regime. These tectonics resulted in trap generation through faulting, inversion and wrenching. During the Santonian, oceanic spreading began in the southern Tasman Sea (c.85 Ma). Slow extension caused thinning of continental crust in the Bight and Otway Basins and subsidence into deeper water. Ocean crust formed south of the Bight Basin in the Early Campanian (c.83 Ma) and also started extending up the eastern Australian coast.

The third stage in development was caused by Eocene changes to fast spreading in the Southern Ocean (c.44 Ma), final separation of Australia and Antarctica, and cessation of Tasman Sea spreading. These events caused collapse of continental margins and widespread marine transgression. The resultant loading, maturation and marine seal deposition are critical to petroleum prospectivity in the Gippsland Basin.

https://doi.org/10.1071/AJ00001

© CSIRO 2001


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