Canning Basin

Location Map

Map showing the location of Canning Basin in relation to Australia
© Geoscience Australia

Basin Details and Geological Overview

The Canning Basin extends offshore Western Australia to form the Offshore Canning Basin (Oobagooma Sub-basin/Fitzroy Trough, Broome Platform, Willara Sub-basin, Samphire Embayment, Wallal Platform and Wallal Embayment). The offshore portion of the basin contains up to 10km of Ordovician to Tertiary marine and non-marine siliciclastics and marine carbonates.

The Early Ordovician to Early Cretaceous pericratonic Canning Basin occupies about 506 000km2, of which 430 000km2 are onshore Western Australia. Late Cretaceous and Tertiary sediments are restricted to the offshore portion of the basin and pinch-out landward. The basin has a maximum sediment thickness of over 15 km concentrated in two NW trending depocentres. The northernmost of these is the Fitzroy Trough-Gregory Sub-basin complex, while the southernmost is the Willara Sub-basin - Kidson Sub-basin complex. The Fitzroy trough continues offshore.

Deposition in the basin commenced during an Early Ordovician phase of extension and rapid subsidence. Rifting was followed by a prolonged sag stage characterised by widespread evaporitic and playa conditions in the Late Ordovician and Silurian.

The second basin phase was initiated by minor folding, regional uplift and erosion in the earliest Devonian and embraces laterally extensive aeolian and terrestrial deposits.

The third phase incorporates major extension, rifting and rapid subsidence in the mid-Devonian. The sag stage following this extension was interrupted by at least two extensional tectonic pulses marked by influxes of conglomerates along the northern margins of the basin.

The fourth basin phase was initiated by mid-Carboniferous compression and inversion of Devonian normal faults and is marked by syntectonic fluvial deposits.

The fifth phase is marked by renewed extension and rapid subsidence, coinciding with the onset of glacial conditions in the Early Permian and incorporates a sag stage with widespread transgression following the glaciation.

The final tectonic phase was triggered by regional dextral wrench movements in the Late Triassic - Early Jurassic when up to 3 km of uplift and erosion occurred, accompanied by extensive molasse deposition. This was followed by deposition of fluvio-deltaic and marine sediments.

Only 250 wells have been drilled and 78 000km of seismic shot. Production is currently from Permo-Carboniferous sandstones (Lloyd, Sundown, etc) and Devonian carbonates (Blina) with many shows in Ordovician-Permian section. Proven plays include draped bioherms, anticlinal closures and tilted fault blocks. Untested plays include unconformities, fault rollovers, diapirs and stratigraphic traps.

Stratigraphy

Stratigraphic correlation
chart of the offshore Canning
Basin
© Geoscience Australia.

Regional Cross-sections

Canning Basin Regional Structural Elements Map

Canning Basin Regional Structural
Elements Map
© Geoscience Australia.

Regional cross-section showing
stratigraphy for the offshore
Canning Basin
© Geoscience Australia.

The offshore Fitzroy Trough is a broad depression bounded by southwest- and northeast-dipping faults and overlies early Palaeozoic and Precambrian 'basement'. The location of the cross-section (pink line) can been seen on the Regional structural elements map.

Key references

Author(s) Year Title
Brown, S.A., Boserio, J.M., Jackson, K.S. and Spence, K.W. 1984 The geological evolution of the Canning Basin: implications for petroleum exploration; in Purcell, P.G. (Editor), The Canning Basin, WA: Proceedings of Geological Society of Australia/Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Symposium, Perth, 1984, 85-96.
Colwell, J.B. and Stagg, H.M.J. 1994 Structure of the Offshore canning Basin: First impressions from a new regional deep-seismic data set, in Purcell, P.G. and Purcell, R.R. (Editors), The Sedimentary Basins of Western Australia: Proceedings of Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Symposium, Perth, 1994, 757-768.
Horstman, E.L. and Purcell, P.G. 1988 The offshore Canning basin - a review: In P.G. Purcell, P.G. & R.R. (Editors), The North West Shelf, Australia: Proceedings of Petroleum Exploration Society Australia Symposium, Perth, 1988, 253-257.
JNOC (Japan National Oil Corporation) 1988 Geological and geophysical study of the offshore Canning Basin on the Northwest Shelf of Australia. (Open-file report available for inspection at the WA Geological Survey, Perth and Geoscience Australia, Canberra).
JNOC (Japan National Oil Corporation) 1989 Geological and geophysical study of the northeastern part of the offshore Canning Basin on the Northwest Shelf of Australia. (Open-file report available for inspection at the WA Geological Survey, Perth and Geoscience Australia, Canberra).
Kennard, J.M., Jackson, M.J., Romine, K.K., Shaw, R.D. and Southgate, P.N. 1994 Depositional sequences and associated petroleum systems of the Canning Basin. WA.: in Purcell, P.G. & Purcell, R.R. (editors), The Sedimentary Basins of Western Australia: Proceedings of Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Symposium, Perth 1994, 657-676.
Lipski, P. 1994 Structural framework and depositional history of the Bedout and Rowley Sub-basins: in Purcell, P.G. & Purcell, R.R. (editors), The Sedimentary Basins of Western Australia: Proceedings of Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Symposium, Perth 1994, 769-777.
Purcell, P.G. (Editor) 1984 The Canning Basin, WA: Proceedings of the Geological Society of Australia/Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia Symposium, Perth, 1984, 582p.
Smith, S.A., Tingate, P.R., Griffiths, C.M. and Jull, J.N.F. 1999 The structural development and petroleum potential of the Roebuck Basin. The Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APPEA) Journal, 39 (1), 364-385.

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