Review of Australian Mesoproterozoic basins: Geology and resource potential

Anderson, Jade1, Carr, Lidena1, Henson, Paul1, Carson, Chris1

1Geoscience Australia, Canberra, Australia

Australian cratons underwent substantial tectonism and cratonic reorganisation during the Mesoproterozoic, coinciding globally with the transition from Nuna to Rodinia (e.g. Li et al., 2008; Pisarevsky et al., 2014). The full extent and nature of this tectonism remains contentious (e.g. Bagas, 2004; Betts and Giles, 2006; Cawood and Korsch, 2008; Maidment, 2017).

During the Mesoproterozoic several sedimentary basin systems were deposited, and are now variably preserved, in the Northern Territory, Queensland, Western Australia, South Australia and Tasmania; providing an invaluable indirect record of the evolving Australian lithosphere and tectonic processes. Most of these basins were deposited on or at the margins of Archean to Paleoproterozoic cratons (North Australian Craton, West Australian Craton and South Australian Craton; e.g. see Myers et al. 1996; Cawood and Korsch, 2008 for spatial geography and constituents of these cratons). The remnants of these basins vary from weakly-deformed, relatively continuous units, such as the Roper Group of the McArthur Basin in the Northern Territory, to basins that were subsequently deformed and metamorphosed under high grade conditions, such as the Arid Basin of the Albany Fraser Orogen in Western Australia.

Individual basins are typically studied in isolation or in subsets, for which available geological datasets are commonly disparate with markedly different levels of knowledge. Mineral and energy resources have been identified in some of these basins; including oil and gas resources hosted in the Roper Group in the Beetaloo Sub-basin; manganese deposits in the Collier Basin and Manganese Group (Western Australia); and polymetallic, stratabound, hydrothermal mineralisation in the late Paleoproterozoic to early Mesoproterozoic Edmund Basin (Western Australia). Typically, these more overtly prospective basins, or groups, have been studied in greater detail than other Mesoproterozoic basins or groups.

This study provides a holistic overview of Australian Mesoproterozoic sedimentary basin systems, integrating geological, geochronological, and publically available resource data. As part of this collated approach, we also discuss potential inter-basin correlations for Mesoproterozoic-aged successions in Australia. This study aims to assist future work targeted at improving the geological understanding of these Mesoproterozoic sedimentary provinces and their resource prospectivity.


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Jade Anderson completed a PhD at the University of Adelaide in the areas of metamorphic geology, geochronology and Proterozoic Australia tectonics. She currently works as a Geoscientist in Basin Systems at Geoscience Australia.

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