Cenozoic post-breakup compressional deformation and exhumation of the southern Australian margin

Holford, Simon; Hillis, R.R.; Duddy, I.R.; Green, P.F.; Stoker, Martyn; Tuitt, Adrian; Backe, G.; Tassone, D.R.; MacDonald, J.D.. 2011 Cenozoic post-breakup compressional deformation and exhumation of the southern Australian margin. APPEA Journal, 51. 613-638.

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We present results from a margin-wide analysis of the history of post-breakup Cenozoic compressional deformation and related exhumation along the passive southern margin of Australia based on a regional synthesis of seismic, stratigraphic and thermochronological data. The Cenozoic sedimentary record of the southern margin contains regional unconformities of intra- Lutetian and late Miocene-Pliocene age, which coincide with reconfigurations of the boundaries of the Indo-Australian Plate. Seismic data show that post-breakup compressional deformation and sedimentary basin inversion, characterised by reactivation of syn-rift faults and folding of post-rift sediments, is pervasive from the Gulf St Vincent to Gippsland basins, and occurred almost continually since the early-to-mid Eocene. Inversion structures are absent from the Bight Basin which we interpret to be the result of both the unsuitable orientation of faults for reactivation with respect to post-breakup stress fields, and the colder, stronger lithosphere that underlies that part of the margin. Compressional deformation along the southeastern margin has mainly been accommodated by reactivation of syn-rift faults resulting in folds with varying ages and amplitudes within the post-rift Cenozoic succession. Many hydrocarbon fields in the Otway and Gippsland basins are located within these folds, the largest of which are often associated with substantial localised exhumation. Our results emphasise the importance of constraining the timing of Cenozoic compression and exhumation in defining hydrocarbon prospectivity of the southern margin.

Item Type: Publication - Article
Programmes: BGS Programmes 2010 > Marine Geoscience
Date made live: 20 Feb 2012 15:19 +0 (UTC)

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