The Laura Basin is located in northeast Queensland, occupying 18,000 km2 onshore and 16,000 km2 offshore, under water depths of less than 200 metres. The basin comprises approximately 2,000 metres of Middle Jurassic to Early Cretaceous sediments and overlies up to 10,000 metres of Permian sediments of the Lakefield Basin. The Laura Basin is bound to the west by the Coen Inlier; to the south by the Hodgkinson Province and Yambo Inlier and to the north and east offshore by the Queensland Basin and undefined continental shelf basement. The Lakefield Basin is a Permian intracratonic rift basin with a current area of some 10,000 km2 onshore and 3,000 km2 offshore, underlying the central Laura Basin. The Lakefield Basin may have covered a far larger area in the past and included Triassic sediments, before some 2 km of section was removed by Middle to Late Triassic uplift and erosion. Only the uppermost part of the Lakefield Basin has been intersected, by four onshore petroleum exploration wells that encountered a fluvio-deltaic sequence.
The Laura Basin is a Jurassic-Cretaceous intra-cratonic sag basin, initiated by renewed movement along the Palmerville Fault. Initial fluvial sedimentation of the Dalrymple Sandstone was deposited over a rugged erosional surface, but upper parts of that formation were deposited in delta-plain to marginal marine environments. The overlying, conformable Gilbert River Formation was then deposited during the Late Jurassic to Early Cretaceous in fluvial to marginal marine environments. Rapid subsidence during the Aptian led to the deposition of the shallow marine, conformable Rolling Downs Group. Laura Basin sedimentation was terminated by Late Cretaceous uplift and erosion. The Laura Basin is overlain onshore by thin Cainozoic fluvial sediments of the Kalpowar Basin.
No petroleum discoveries have been made in the Lakefield or Laura Basins, although gas shows have been encountered in each basin. The offshore Laura-Lakefield Basins lie within the Great Barrier Marine Park, in which petroleum exploration activity is prohibited. The Lakefield National Park overlies a large part of the onshore basins.