Eastern Plateau

Location Map

Eastern Plateau in relation to Australia

Map showing the location of Eastern Plateau in relation to Australia
© Geoscience Australia

Basin Details and Geological Overview

The Eastern Plateau lies midway between Queensland and Papua New Guinea and is the northernmost marginal plateau of the northeast Australian continental margin. The plateau has a gently convex surface and covers an area of about 31 000 km2 (Davies, 1989). There is one site of active reef growth, Eastern Fields Reef, on the northern margin of the Plateau, with submerged and buried reefs extending northeast from this area into the Moresby Trough (Isern, 1997).

The Eastern Plateau is bound to the north by the Moresby and Pandora Troughs, to the west by the Bligh Trough, to the south by the Osprey Embayment and to the east by the Moresby Canyon and the Coral Sea Basin (Davies, 1991). The northern and southern plateau margins are controlled by normal faults and the western margin has been highly deformed by thrusts and wrench faulting. The eastern margin of the plateau has been deformed by collision with the terranes of the Papuan Peninsula (Davies, 1991 and Pigram, 1993). As the plateau is surrounded by troughs, it is generally free of terrigenous sediments (Isern, 1997).

The Eastern Plateau is underlain by deformed, fault-bounded and tilted basement blocks of approximately Late Cretaceous age (Pigram, 1993). Eocene sediments were deposited on the eroded surface of the basement blocks, onlaping onto basement highs and are commonly disturbed by faulting. The remaining sediments on the Eastern Plateau are a mix of Miocene to Recent calcareous ooze and periplatform detritus (Pigram, 1993 and Isern, 1997).

Regional Cross-sections

Eastern Plateau Regional Cross Section

Cross-section (Symonds et al., 1990)
© Geoscience Australia

Key References

Author(s) Year Title
Davies, P.J., Symonds, P.A., Feary, D.A., & Pigram, C.J. 1989 The evolution of the carbonate platforms of northeast Australia. Society of Economic Paleontologists and Mineralogists Special Publication, 44, 233-257.
Isern, A.R., Pigram, C.J., Swart, P.K., & Kroon, D. 1997 ODP Drilling in the Coral Sea: sealevel variation, Paleoceanography and fluid flow. AGSO Record. 1997/003
Oppel, T.W. 1990 Exploration of the southwest flank of the Papuan Basin. Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APEA) Journal, 10 (2), 62-69.
Pigram, C.J., Davies, P.J., Feary, D.A., Symonds, P.A., & Chaproniere, G.C.H. 1990 Controls on Tertiary carbonate platform evolution in the Papuan Basin: new play concepts. In Carman, G.J. & Z., (Editors), Petroleum Exploration and Development in Papua New Guinea: Proceedings of the First PNG Petroleum Convention, Port Moresby, 1990, 185-195.
Struckmeyer, H.I.M., Yeung, M., & Pigram, C.J. 1993 Mesozoic to Cainozoic plate tectonic and palaeogeographic evolution of the New Guinea Region. In Carman, G.J. & Z., (Editors), Petroleum Exploration and Development in Papua New Guinea: Proceedings of the Second PNG Petroleum Convention, Port Moresby, 1993, 261-290.
Symonds, P.A. 1983 Relation between continental shelf and margin development – central and northen Great Barrier Reef. In Baker, J.T., et al. Proceedings: Inaugural Great Barrier Reef Conference, August 28 - September 2, 1983, 115-157.
Symonds, P.A., Davies, P.J., Pigram, C.J., Feary, D.A., & Chaproniere, G.C.H. 1990 Northeast Australia Torres Shelf - Pandora Trough. Canberra, Bureau of Mineral Resources, Geology and Geophysics, Australia, Continental Margins Program Folio 4
Symonds, P.A., Davies, P.J., Feary, D.A., & Pigram, C.J. 1988 Geology of the northeastern Australian margin basins. Queensland 1988 Exploration and Development. PEAS (Qld)- ODCAA-SPE Petroleum Symposium, 23rd Nov, 198, 61-77.
Symonds, P.A., Fritsch, J., & Schluter, H.U. 1984 Continental Margin Around the Western Coral Sea Basin: Structural Elements, Seismic Sequences and Petroleum Geological Aspects. In Watson, S.T., (Editor), Transactions Third Circum Pacific Energy and Minerals Resources Conference, Honolulu, 143-152.
Taylor, L., & Falvey, D.A. 1977 Queensland Plateau and Coral Sea Basin: stratigraphy, structure and tectonics. APEA Journal, 17, 13-29.
Willcox, J.B. 1981 Petroleum Prospectivity of Australian Marginal Plateaus. In Halbouty, M.T., (Editor), Energy resources of the Pacific region, AAPG Studies in Geology, 12, 245-272.

Topic contact: petroleum@ga.gov.au Last updated: May 31, 2012