Geoscience Australia - Product Database



Arafura Basin

Entity ID: 359040 Compiled by: Earl, K.L. and Totterdell, J. Year: 2006 Status: Defined

Last Revised: 2013

Rank: province Type: sedimentary Subtype: intracratonic Location: NT On-shore and off-shore

Synonyms: NA Symbol: NA

Minimum age: Permian Age method: inferred, biostratigraphic correlation

Maximum age: Neoproterozoic Age method: inferred, isotopic correlation

Summary: The Arafura Basin is located on the northern margin of Australia in water depths up to 230 m. It covers approximately 200,000 km2 in Australia, extending from the onshore Northern Territory to beyond the Australian-Indonesian border. The basin contains up to 15 km of Neoproterozoic to Permian clastics and carbonates.

Area (square kilometres): 200000
State: NT
Minimum present water depth (m): 0
Maximum present water depth (m): 230
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
Present crustal setting: continental
Country: AUS

Parent: No data

Child Provinces: No data

Overlies - McArthur Basin, Pine Creek Orogen
Underlies - Money Shoal Basin

Constituent units: Arafura Group, Buckingham Bay Sandstone, Darbilla Formation, Djabura Formation, Goulburn Group, Kulshill Group, Milingimbi Formation, Mooroongga Formation, Yabooma Formation, Jigaimara Formation, Cox Formation, Elcho Island Formation, Wessel Group, Naningbura Dolomite

Events: No data

Mineral Deposits: No data

Key Reference: (Refid:-1)

Comments: No data

Overview: The Neoproterozoic to Permian Arafura Basin is located on the northern Australian continental margin, extending from the onshore Northern Territory into Indonesian waters. Water depths typically range from about 70 m to 230 m. The basin unconformably overlies the Palaeoproterozoic to Mesoproterozoic McArthur Basin in the south and east, and the highly deformed Archaean-Palaeoproterozoic Pine Creek Inlier in the west. It is overlain by the Mesozoic to Recent Money Shoal Basin. The structure of the Arafura Basin is dominated by the NW-trending, highly deformed Goulburn Graben. This feature is over 350 km long and up to 70 km wide, containing up 15 km of sediment. The structure probably formed in the Late Carboniferous to Early Permian in response to oblique extension associated with the break-up of Gondwana, and underwent oblique inversion in the Triassic during a phase of regional contractional deformation. The graben is flanked to the north by a less deformed region containing up to 15 km of sediment. The northern region is characterised by the presence of large Neoproterozoic half graben that have undergone some later contractional and extensional deformation. To the south of the Goulburn Graben is a north-dipping relatively undeformed ramp, containing up to 3 km of sediment. The subsidence history of the Arafura Basin has been episodic, with periods of basin wide subsidence in the Neoproterozoic, Middle Cambrian to Early Ordovician, Late Devonian, and Late Carboniferous to Early Permian, separated by long, tectonically quiescent periods of non-deposition and erosion. There is evidence for hydrocarbon generation and migration in the Arafura region with interpreted seeps, bitumens, seismic anomalies and pockmarks, and hydrocarbon indications within wells. The most significant hydrocarbon shows were oil and gas shows in Arafura-1 and an oil show in Goulburn-1, which have been linked to a Cambrian source. Geochemical analyses and geohistory modelling suggest that there may have been multiple phases of generation from this source interval. Good quality seals and reservoirs are provided by the overlying Money Shoal Basin sediments. Exploration risks identified in the Goulburn Graben include timing of hydrocarbon charge, breach of structure and reservoir quality.

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This report was generated on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 8:51:39 PM EST.