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AAPG Bulletin


Seismic Stratigraphy and Subsidence Analysis in the Barrow-Dampier Subbasin, Northwest Australia1

Hildegard Westphal and Thomas Aigner3


The objective of this study is to analyze the basin-fill history of the Barrow-Dampier Subbasin (Northwest Shelf, Australia) as a spectacular and complex example of the stratigraphic record of continental breakup. From the Permian until the Holocene, the Barrow-Dampier Subbasin underwent development from a continental sedimentary basin located on the Gondwana continent to a rift graben. When extensional movement ceased, the subbasin developed as a passive continental margin.

This study, based on marine seismic data (about 600 km) and logs of 20 wells, includes a seismic stratigraphic analysis tied to wells in the vicinity, chronostratigraphic charts, and the calculation of subsidence curves.

The basin fill is characterized by a hierarchically organized architecture. The largest scale are four tectonic-stratigraphic units: prerift (Upper Permian to Pliensbachian), rift (until Callovian), postrift (until the Upper Cretaceous), and convergence (Neogene). The tectonostratigraphic units were built by 13 sequences of the time scale of second-order sequences. Several of the sequences coincide with discrete subsidence episodes on geohistory

©Copyright 1997. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.

1Manuscript received February 27, 1996; revised manuscript received October 28, 1996; final acceptance June 3, 1997.

2Institut für Geologie und Paläontologie der Universität Tübingen, Sigwartstr. 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany. Present address: Geomar Forschungszentrum für marine Geowissenschaften, Wischhofstr. 1-3, 24148 Kiel, Germany; e-mail: [email protected]

3Institut für Geologie und Paläontologie der Universität Tübingen, Sigwartstr. 10, 72076 Tübingen, Germany; e-mail: [email protected]

We thank Boral Energy Resources Ltd. for the permission to publish the data. SAGASCO (Adelaide, South Australia) provided eight lithology logs, and LASMO Australia (Perth, Western Australia) supplied the seismic sections and the time-converted synthetic seismic traces. Thanks are also due to Wiltshire Geological Services (Mount Osmond, South Australia) for supplying the digitized well logs and for permission to publish data based on the logs.

Detailed reviews of C. Ravenne, W. J. Devlin, and former Elected Editor K. T. Biddle considerably improved the manuscript. We are grateful to L. Pomar for a discussion about seismic interpretation. Thanks are also due to J. J. G. Reijmer for valuable comments.

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