As part of the BMR-APIRA Phanerozoic History of Australia Project geological information has been compiled for those parts
of the south west Pacific that are part of the Australian Plate or are closely adjacent to it. The area includes the island
groups of Tonga, Fiji, New Hebrides (Vanuatu) and the Solomons and the associated ocean basins and plateaux. Papua New Guinea,
New Zealand and the Tasman Sea have been dealt with in other project reports.
The information has been compiled in order to produce time slice palaeogeographic maps of the Australian plate. The data are
presented in the form of summary stratigraphic columns, time
slice data maps and palaeogeographic maps, and this report which includes an appendix of data point descriptions.
The aim of the project has been to provide a new data synthesis relevant to petroleum exploration in the region. The petroleum
potential of the south west Pacific itself is limited, but the study of this area has relevance for understanding the development
of Australian basins in their regional context.
Tectonic events clearly recorded on this eastern plate margin have impact within the continent, such as the wrench reactivation
of structures in the Gippsland Basin in the mid-Eocene which has
been related to a rearrangement of the Pacific plate (Etheridge & others, 1991).