Geoscience Australia - Product Database



Northern Carnarvon Basin

Entity ID: 20925 Compiled by: Ryan, D. Year: 2002 Status: Defined

Last Revised: 2013

Rank: province Type: sedimentary Subtype: polyhistory Location: WA On-shore and off-shore

Synonyms: NA Symbol: NA

Minimum age: Recent Age method: inferred, biostratigraphic correlation

Maximum age: Early Palaeozoic Age method: inferred

Summary: The Palaeozoic to Recent Northern Carnarvon Basin, Australia's premier hydrocarbon province, lies mainly offshore on the multiple-rifted northwest Australian margin, and contains up to 15 km of Mesozoic clastic deltaic and marine sediments.

Area (square kilometres): 375000
State: WA
Minimum present water depth (m): 0
Maximum present water depth (m): 5000
Main rock types: siliciclastic sediments and sedimentary rocks
Main rock types: carbonate sediments and sedimentary rocks
Main depositional environment: marine and non-marine
Minimum sediment thickness (m): 0
Maximum sediment thickness (m): 15000
Resources: Oil
Resources: Gas
Present crustal setting: continental
Country: AUS

Parent: No data

Child Provinces: Dampier Sub-basin, Barrow Sub-basin, Exmouth Sub-basin, Rankin Platform, Beagle Sub-basin, Exmouth Plateau

Adjoins - Bedout Sub-basin, Canning Basin, Gascoyne Sub-basin, Roebuck Basin, Rowley Sub-basin, Southern Carnarvon Basin
Overlies - Pilbara Craton

Constituent units: Athol Formation, Barrow Group, Beedagong Claystone, Biggada Sandstone, Birdrong Sandstone, Cape Range Group, Cardabia Calcarenite, Dingo Claystone, Enderby Formation, Exmouth Sandstone, Frezier Sandstone, Gearle Siltstone, Giralia Calcarenite, Korojon Calcarenite, Legendre Formation, Locker Shale, Malouet Formation, Mandu Limestone, Mardie Greensand Member, Miria Formation, Muderong Shale, Mungaroo Formation, Pilgramunna Formation, Talisman Member, Toolonga Calcilutite, Trealla Limestone, Tunney Member, Windalia Radiolarite, Windalia Sand Member, Angel Formation, Bare Formation, Biggada Formation, Calypso Formation, Delambre Formation, Dockrell Formation, Emma Member, Forestier Claystone, Haycock Marl, Withnell Formation, Brigadier Formation, Callawa Formation, Dupuy Formation, Flag Sandstone, Jarlemai Siltstone, Liveringa Group, Parda Formation, Lambert Formation, Walcott Formation, Murat Siltstone, North Rankin Formation, Wallal Sandstone, Tulki Limestone, Poole Sandstone, Wilcox Formation, Cody Formation, M. australis Sandstone, Pierre Shale, Macedon Sandstone, Eliassen Formation, Jansz Sandstone, M. australis Member, Cody Limestone, Abdul Sandstone

Events: No data

Mineral Deposits: Manyingee

Key Reference: Hocking, R.M. 1988, Regional geology of the northern Carnarvon Basin. IN Purcell P.G. and Purcell R.R. eds - The North West Shelf, Australia., Petroleum Exploration Society of Australia, 1v, p97-114 (Refid:41438)

Comments: No data

Overview: The Palaeozoic to Recent Northern Carnarvon Basin, is a large, mainly offshore basin on Australia's northwest shelf. It is Australia's premier hydrocarbon province where the majority of deepwater wells (greater than 500 m water depth) have been drilled. Since exploration drilling commenced in 1953, 754 exploration wells have been drilled (Dec 2001) and 145 GL of oil, 52 GL of condensate and 207 BCM of gas have been produced. The major basin faults trend north or northeast and define a series of structural highs and sub-basins that contain abundant mature source rocks. The basin developed during four successive periods of extension and thermal subsidence. The first phase, Silurian to Permian, developed as a series of intracratonic basins during the breakup of Gondwana along the western margin of Australia. Subsequent Early Jurassic extension initiated four main depocentres; the Exmouth, Barrow, Dampier and Beagle sub-basins. A third extension phase in the Middle Jurassic resulted in seafloor spreading in the Argo Abyssal Plain to the north, and the fourth Tithonian to Valanginian rifting phase culminated in the creation of the Gascoyne-Cuvier abyssal plains to the west and south. The extensive deep-water (800 to 5000 m) Exmouth Plateau forms a bathymetric Plateau outboard of the main depocentres, and developed in response to thermal sag after Valanginian breakup. The depocentres contain up to 15 km of sedimentary section. Triassic to Lower Cretaceous strata are dominantly siliciclastic deltaic to marine deposits, whereas slope and shelfal marls and carbonates dominate the Mid Cretaceous to Cainozoic section. These carbonates were deposited as a series of northwestward prograding wedges as the region continued to cool and subside. This resulted in deep burial of the underlying Mesozoic source and reservoir sequences in the depocentres. Most of the basin's hydrocarbon resources are reservoired within Upper Triassic, Jurassic and Lower Cretaceous sandstones beneath the regional Cretaceous seal.

Images: Northern Carnarvon Basin structural elements map (101 KB), Northern Carnarvon Basin stratigraphy (167 KB), Northern Exmouth Plateau seismic profile 128-08 (147 KB), Exmouth Sub-basin cross-sections (Profiles 110-11 and 101r-05) (94 KB), Barrow Sub-basin cross-sections (75 KB), Dampier Sub-basin cross-section (306 KB), Beagle Sub-basin regional cross-section (206 KB), Exmouth Sub-basin petroleum systems chart (43 KB), Barrow Sub-basin petroleum systems chart (57 KB), Dampier Sub-basin petroleum systems chart (58 KB)

Other media: No data

Source Information:

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This report was generated on Monday, May 28, 2018 4:05:11 AM EST.