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ABSTRACT: The Northland Basin, New Zealand, from Rift to Active Margin--Tectonic Evolution and Petroleum Potential

HERZER, RICHARD H., DSIR Geology and Geophysics, Wellington, New Zealand

Northland basin has seen little exploration for petroleum but has many favorable factors in common with the contiguous producing Taranaki basin. The basin began to form in the Late Cretaceous during rifting that formed the New Caledonia Trough in the eastern Tasman Sea. Early rifting, involving block rotation, was followed by deposition of a regional blanket of coal measures. Later, more pervasive Cretaceous rifting was accompanied by regional subsidence and marine transgression from the west. Throughout the Paleogene, the basin was relatively stable, and thin, apparently shelf or deltaic sequences were deposited from the east. Renewed tectonism in the Early Miocene in response to the development of an active plate boundary to the northeast brought the following changes to the basin: 1) rapid subsidence, (2) open folding in the north, (3) gravity-slide emplacement of an allochthon from the plate boundary region, and (4) emergence of a double volcanic arc which dominate sedimentation. Arc volcanism ceased at the end of the Early Miocene. The arc volcanoes and the allochthon were gradually eroded and buried but some westward tilting of the basin continued. Relaxation of stress and/or transcurrent faulting on the plate boundary has further deformed the northeastern margin of the basin.

Source rocks are expected to be marine and parallic and thus oil prone in common with the northern Taranaki basin. Over 5000 m of sediment (locally 7000+ m) in the axis, and a variety of structural and stratigraphic plays make this a prospective frontier basin.


AAPG Search and Discovery Article #91015©1992 AAPG International Conference, Sydney, N.S.W., Australia, August 2-5, 1992 (2009)