Money Shoal Basin

Location Map

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

Basin Details and Geological Overview

The Jurassic to Cainozoic Money Shoal Basin is a mainly offshore basin located off the Northern Territory coastline. The basin is a tilted passive margin basin with no specific depocentre and contains formations that are generally monoclinal and undeformed.

The base of the sedimentary succession ranges in age from Middle Jurassic in the west to Late Cretaceous in the east. These sediments unconformably overlie the Arafura Basin and Pre-Cambrian rocks of the Pine Creek Geosyncline and McArthur Basin. Sediments were deposited in marine environments, with occasional incursions of deltaic and fluvial sediments and are up to 4500 metres thick in the northwest but thin rapidly eastwards.

The basin is bound to the west by the Lynedoch Fault System, separating the Money Shoal Basin from the Calder and Malita Grabens, and bound to the east by a Mesozoic hinge, which separates the Money Shoal Basin from the Carpentaria Basin. The southern basin boundary is represented by onshore sediment pinchout. Little is known about the northern portion of the basin, which extends beyond the Australian-Indonesian seabed boundary.

Nine petroleum exploration wells have been drilled in the offshore Money Shoal Basin, all in the region of the underlying Goulburn Graben. Jurassic claystones interbedded with sandstones are considered to be source rocks of good quality, with the potential to generate oil and gas. Marginally mature Early Cretaceous claystones also exist. Sandstones of the Money Shoal Basin have good reservoir qualities and exist at various stratigraphic levels. Jurassic and Early Cretaceous sandstones of the basin have good porosities, whereas Palaeozoic reservoirs tend to be of low porosity. These sandstones are not always overlain by seal-quality claystones and therefore the prime exploration risk within the Money Shoal Basin appears to be poor vertical seals.


Money Shoal Basin Stratigraphic Correlation Chart

Money Shoal Basin Stratigraphic
Correlation Chart
© Geoscience Australia

Regional Cross-sections

Schematic diagram showing the
location of the Money Shoal Basin
© Geoscience Australia

Money Shoal Basin cross-section
© Geoscience Australia

Key references

Author(s) Year Title
Brown, C.M. 1980 Arafura and Money Shoals Basins, Stratigraphic correlation between Sedimentary Basins of the ESCAP Region; ESCAP Atlas of Stratigraphy II, 7, 52-57.
Henderson, R.A. 1998 Eustatic and palaeoenvironmental assessment of the mid-Cretaceous Bathurst Island Group of the Money Shoals Platform, northern Australia, Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 138 (1-4), 115-138.
Martin, B.A. and Cawley, S.J. 1991 Onshore and offshore petroleum seepage: contrasting a conventional study in Papua New Guinea and Airborne Laser Fluorosensing over the Arafura Sea, Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association (APEA) Journal, 31 (1), 333-353.
McLennan, J.M., Rasidi, J.S., Homes, R.L. and Smith, G.C. 1990 The geology and petroleum potential of the western Arafura Sea, APEA Journal, 30 (1), 91-106.
Rynn, J.M.W. and Reid, I.D. 1983 Crustal structure of the western Arafura Sea from ocean bottom seismograph data, Journal of Geological Society of Australia, 30 (1), 59-74.
Smith, M.R. and Ross, J.G. 1986 Petroleum potential of northern Australian continental shelf, AAPG Bulletin, 70 (11), 1700-1712.
Summons, R.E., Bradshaw, J., Brooks, D.M., Goody, A.K., Murray, A.P. and Foster, C.B. 1993 Hydrocarbon composition and origins of coastal bitumens from the Northern Territory, Australia, PESA Journal, 21, 31-42

Topic contact: Last updated: May 31, 2012