Bland, K.J., Kamp, P.J.J. & Nelson, C.S. (2008). Late Miocene – Early Pleistocene paleogeography of the onshore central Hawke’s Bay sector of the forearc basin, eastern North Island, New Zealand, and some implications for hydrocarbon prospectivity. 2008 New Zealand Petroleum Conference Proceedings, 19 pages.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4244
The timing of trap formation in relation to the timing of source rock burial and maturation are important considerations in evaluating the hydrocarbon prospectivity of onshore parts of the forearc basin in central Hawke’s Bay. We describe here aspects of the Late Miocene to Early Pleistocene paleogeography for the area based on detailed field mapping and lithofacies analysis, to help constrain petroleum systems evaluations. Key conclusions are: • Most deformation of the forearc basin fill appears to be relatively young (i.e. post-2 Ma). This deformation has occurred after a major phase of Late Miocene to Pliocene sediment accumulation, and is particularly significant along the northwestern and southeastern margins of the basin. • The axis of the forearc basin in central Hawke’s Bay appears to have undergone little structural deformation. Gentle force and reverse faults in the subsurface may be suitable traps. • The most widespread potential reservoir beds are Miocene sandstone beds. • Potential hydrocarbon source rocks are mostly absent from western parts of the basin due to significant Neogene uplift and erosion. They are, however, probably still widely preserved beneath central parts of the basin where uplift and erosion have been much less pronounced. • Miocene structures within the axis of the basin, buried by the Late Miocene to Pleistocene siliciclastic succession, are likely exploration targets. The forearc basin has been substantially inverted along its western side since the latest Pliocene, resulting in erosion of older sediments, including potential source rocks, down to basement in ranges flanking its western side. The stratigraphy along the eastern margin of the forearc basin, and particularly the outcrop pattern of westward-younging Plio-Pleistocene limestones, records the development of faulting and folding associated with the elevation and growth of the inboard part of the accretionary wedge. Parts of the forearc basin succession have become involved in the accretionary wedge, which has migrated westward through time. Uplift of the inboard margin of the accretionary wedge since the latest Miocene helped to cause an interior seaway to develop to the west during the Pliocene. Distinctive coarse-grained bioclastic carbonate sediments of the Te Aute lithofacies were deposited along both margins of the seaway, which was most extensive during the Late Pliocene (Mangapanian). Although significant volumes of siliciclastic sediment were supplied to the basin during the Pliocene, strong tidal currents periodically swept much of these sediments northeastward. Tidal connections existed during the Pliocene into Wanganui Basin in the vicinity of Kuripapango and Manawatu Gorge. By the latest Pliocene (lower Nukumaruan), the interior seaway became closed in the south with uplift of the Mount Bruce block in northern Wairarapa. Potential reservoirs within the map area include both shelf and redeposited sandstone beds in the Miocene to Early Pliocene Tolaga Group. Thick, coarse-grained, variably cemented Plio-Pleistocene limestone lithofacies in the Mangaheia Group are widespread along the margins of the basin, and have been the targets for several past exploration programmes. However, drilling has shown that the attractiveness of the Pliocene limestone facies as reservoir beds is limited because they quickly pass laterally into siliciclastic mudstone away from the margins of the basin.
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