The structural and depositional history of the Cooper basin in eastern central Australia has revealed that the basin is a mildly compressional structural depression controlled by northwest-trending and northeast-trending pre-Permian basement features. Pronounced pre-Permian compressions are indicated by northeast-trending major structures, the Gidgealpa-Merrimelia-Innamincka and Murteree-Nappacoongee trends. Detailed chronostratigraphic facies analysis, with closely spaced palynological control, of the Patchawarra Formation revealed that two pronounced phases of uplift occurred during the Sakmarian. The major intrabasin highs were rejuvenated during these tectonic events, as documented by crestal unconformities (middle and upper Patchawarra unconformities). Evidence of each event is dominantly tectonic in character, with similar depositional patterns over these highs related to each event. These events are also recognizable in midflank areas and basin margins with contemporaneous deposition in deeper parts of the basin. Results from this research show potential for future hydrocarbon discoveries within structural, stratigraphic, and structural/stratigraphic traps in the Cooper basin. Various trap styles are closely associated with faults, unconformities, and lateral facies changes. Lowside fault closures, onlap plays, and unconformity traps are expected to be well developed along intrabasinal highs, basin margins, and preexisting structures. The primary reservoir targets would be deltaic sequences comprising shoreline sandstones, distributary and delta-mouth bar deposits that may be well developed in synclinal areas, and flanks of intrabasin highs in the Cooper Basin.

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