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AAPG Bulletin, Preliminary version published online Ahead of Print 1 February 2024.

Copyright © 2024. The American Association of Petroleum Geologists. All rights reserved.


Structural inheritance controls crustal-scale extensional fault-related folding in the Exmouth and Dampier Sub-basins, North West Shelf, Australia

Hongdan Deng123 , Ken McClay34 , Hanlin Chen12 , Emma Finch5 , Dariusz Jablonski6 , and Sukonmeth Jitmahantakul7

1 School of Earth Sciences, Zhejiang University, Hangzhou 310027, China
2 Structural Research Centre of Oil & Gas Bearing Basin of Ministry of Education, Hangzhou 310027, China
3 Fault Dynamics Research Group, Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway University of London, Egham, Surrey TW200EX, UK
4 Australian School of Petroleum and Energy Resources, University of Adelaide, Adelaide, SA, Australia
5 School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
6 Kato Energy, Cottesloe WA 6011, Australia
7 (7) Basin Analysis and Structural Evolution Research Unit, Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand

Ahead of Print Abstract

The origin of the Exmouth and Dampier Sub-basins in the inner rift system of the North West Shelf (NWS), Australia, remain poorly understood, despite intensive industrial exploration for over 50 years. By integrating deep 2-D and basinwide 3-D seismic reflection data, it is concluded that the Exmouth and Dampier Sub-basins are primarily controlled by crustal-scale faults that separate different crustal entities of the Pilbara craton/Capricorn orogen and the Exmouth Plateau. These faults were first formed during late Paleozoic rifting and were reactivated during Late Triassic to Late Jurassic rifting. The reactivation of these faults was accommodated by monocline deformation in the stratigraphic cover due to the presence of thick (~7 km), mechanically weak layers of upper Paleozoic and Lower to Middle Triassic units. The monocline is connected by a ramp-syncline that constitutes the main part of the depocenters of the Exmouth and Dampier Sub-basins. It was partially breached by the Rankin fault, a northeast-trending, right-stepping fault system, during Callovian–Oxfordian extension and controlled the development of crestal-collapse grabens in the hanging wall. This study reveals crustal-scale extensional fault-related folds and their complexity in secondary structures in unpresented detail. It provides a guideline for understanding extensional fault-related folding in 3-D and for deep petroleum system exploration in other extensional basins worldwide.

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Please cite this AAPG Bulletin Ahead of Print article as:

Hongdan Deng , Ken McClay , Hanlin Chen , Emma Finch , Dariusz Jablonski , Sukonmeth Jitmahantakul: Structural inheritance controls crustal-scale extensional fault-related folding in the Exmouth and Dampier Sub-basins, North West Shelf, Australia, (in press; preliminary version published online Ahead of Print 01 February 2024: AAPG Bulletin, DOI:10.1306/01242423035.