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This course is taught from first principles and assumes third year knowledge of geology. It is a sister course to the ‘Basin Evolution and Sequence Stratigraphy’ and ‘Introduction to Structural Geology’ courses that can be taken consecutively or individually to analyse the sediments and structure in basins. The aim is to learn about the types and evolution of basins, their sedimentary fill, the skills needed to analyse the sedimentary sequences and how to evaluate the potential for hydrocarbons, CO2 storage, water, geothermal energy, and minerals. Practically, this will be achieved by comparing and contrasting four eastern Australia basins, each of different type; the Drummond, Cooper-Eromanga, Gippsland, and PNG Fold Belt basins. The key assignment will be to analyse the origin, fill, sediment properties and tectonic history of each basin and to assess its resource potential.
Basins can be analysed by lithospheric processes and plate tectonic setting. Arc-related basins have high geothermal potential but their poor porosity/permeability limits reservoir capacity for hydrocarbons and CO2 storage. New extensional basins have high heat flow that diminishes with time, causing subsidence facilitating deposition of excellent quartzo-felspathic or carbonate reservoirs and shale or evaporite seals. Foreland basins associated with compression and loading have low heat flow but excellent reservoir and seal potential as well as long-distance migration of water, hydrocarbons and mineralising fluids. Strike-slip basins are variable and resources depend on their previous tectonic history. Source kitchens of organic matter control hydrocarbon potential and are dependent on basin type, anoxia, source of organic matter and heating.
Intended learning outcomes
Upon successful completion of this subject, students should have:
- Developed an understanding of the nature and origin of sedimentary basins;
- Learned exploration techniques and strategy;
- Skills to interpret the basin fill and sedimentary environments from core and recorded data;
- The ability to evaluate hydrocarbon, CO2 storage, water, geothermal and mineral resources; and
- Interpret seismic data, electric logs and geohistory curves to define potential resources.
Upon completion of this subject, students should be able to:
- Undertake rigorous and independent thinking;
- Adopt a problem-solving approach to new and unfamiliar tasks;
- Develop high-level written report and/or oral presentation skills;
- Interrogate, synthesise and interpret the published literature; and
- Work as part of a team.
Last updated: 12 November 2021