ABSTRACT

Investigating the timing, structural style, and development of multiphase extensional fault systems is essential for understanding rift basin evolution and for assessment of structural trap integrity. Borehole-controlled interpretation and analysis of two-dimensional and three-dimensional seismic data sets from the eastern Dampier subbasin indicate that a northeast-trending basement weakness zone was subjected to west-northwest–east-southeast oblique extension in the latest Triassic–late Middle Jurassic, resulting in systematic segmentation of the Rosemary fault system (RFS). Temporal stress change during Cretaceous north-south extension produced complex fault systems along the RFS, including (1) east-west–trending isolated faults with maximum displacement close to their center; (2) east-west–trending abutting faults, which initially nucleated as isolated faults, later abutted against the main structure, showing large displacement accruement on the composite fault; and (3) northeast-southwest–trending splay faults characterized by systematic left-stepping segmentation, with maximum displacement occurring at the point where the splay faults deviate from the main structure. In the Miocene, the RFS was locally reactivated by northwest-southeast compression in the northeastern part of the fault system, developing a compressive fault-propagation fold at the upper tip of the inverted extensional fault. This study suggests that the style of basin boundary fault reactivation depends largely on preexisting structures and temporal stress changes. The fault reactivation style is also a significant factor in influencing basin architecture, sediment distribution, fault linkage processes, and petroleum basin prospectivity.

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