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Major Prospective Areas
The Bonaparte Basin is the most northerly sedimentary basin in Western Australia, straddling the border between the Northern Territory and Western Australia. Most of the basin is located offshore, covering 250 000 km2 compared to just over 20 000 km2 onshore.
A recent reassessment of basin terminology along the southern margin of South Australia and Western Australia groups the Mesozoic succession into the Bight Basin and the Cenozoic succession into the Eucla Basin. In Western Australia, the Bight Basin contains four extensional depocentres filled by Jurassic and Cretaceous deposits: the Eyre, Bremer, Recherche, and (in the far west) the poorly known Denmark Sub-basins.
The Browse Basin lies entirely offshore north of Broome and covers approximately 140 000 km2. The basin is bounded by the Leveque Shelf in the south, the Kimberley Block to the east, and the Ashmore Platform and Scott Plateau in the north, and grades into the offshore Canning Basin to the southwest. The area can be serviced from Broome, which has adequate port and air facilities.
The onshore Canning Basin covers an area of about 530 000 km2 in centralnorthern Western Australia and extends offshore for a total basin area of over 640 000 km2 (Figure 27). The succession in the onshore basin ranges in age from Ordovician to Cretaceous, but is predominantly Paleozoic.
The Northern Carnarvon Basin, and in particular the Barrow and Dampier Sub-basins, is regarded as the premier basin of Western Australia, and is one of the more intensely explored areas of Australia. The basin is mainly offshore, and extends from the Pilbara Craton to the continental-oceanic crust boundary, and covers about 500 000 km2.
The onshore, primarily Paleozoic, Southern Carnarvon Basin has seen minimal exploration compared to the adjoining Perth and Northern Carnarvon Basins. The basin extends west from the Yilgarn Craton to the edge of the continental shelf and covers approximately 200 000 km2.
The Perth Basin is a north–south elongate rift–trough along the west coast of Australia. The tectonic framework of the basin is dominated by the Darling Fault and Dandaragan Trough in the east, and the offshore Abrolhos and Vlaming Sub-basins in the west.