Abstract

Eight latest Eocene to earliest Miocene stratigraphic surfaces have been identified in petroleum well data from the Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. These surfaces define seven regional sedimentary packages, of variable thickness and lithofacies, forming a mixed siliciclastic–carbonate system. The evolving tectonic setting, particularly the initial development of the Australian–Pacific convergent margin, controlled geographic, stratigraphic and facies variability. This tectonic signal overprinted a regional transgressive trend that culminated in latest Oligocene times. The earliest influence of active compressional tectonics is reflected in the preservation of latest Eocene – Early Oligocene deepwater sediments in the northern Taranaki Basin. Thickness patterns for all mid Oligocene units onwards show a shift in sedimentation to the eastern Taranaki Basin, controlled by reverse movement on the Taranaki Fault System. This resulted in the deposition of a thick sedimentary wedge, initially of coarse clastic sediments, later carbonate dominated, in the foredeep close to the fault. In contrast, Oligocene active normal faulting in a small sub-basin in the south may represent the most northerly evidence for rifting in southern Zealandia, related to Emerald Basin formation. The Early Miocene period saw a return to clastic-dominated deposition, the onset of regional regression and the southward propagation of compressional tectonics.

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