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Tectonic Development of the Gippsland Basin and Environs: Identification of Key Episodes Using Apatite Fission Track Analysis (AFTA)


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Author Duddy I R and Green P F


Apatite Fission Track Analysis (AFTA) is a thermal history reconstruction tool that enables determination of magnitude and timing of maximum paleotemperature and paleo-geothermal gradient at the time of maximum paleotemperatures. From this information, the amount of section missing at major unconfornities can be estimated and incorporated into basin models. The Gippsland Basin has a number of distinct problems that can be tackled using AFTA. 1. The nature of the regional break between the Late Cretaceous-Tertiary Latrobe Group and the underlying Early Cretaceous Strzelecki Group. 2. The tectonic history of the basement flanking the basin and its effect on sediment composition. 3. The age of igneous activity in the basin, as typified by the widespread basaltic plugs and dykes intruding the outcropping Strzelecki Group. Major uplift and erosion within, and adjacent to, the early Cretaceous rift basin in the Mid-Cretaceous, at -95 to 100 Ma, initially constrained the Latrobe Group depositional area to the central deep of the Gippsland Basin and provided an elevated source of quartz-rich detritus for the Latrobe Group reservoirs. This is in marked contrast to the preceding period in the early Cretaceous when contemporaneous volcanism dominated as a source of detritus, producing quartz-poor lithic sandstones, in which a host of attendant diagenetic reactions destroyed their reservoir potential. Initial uplift and erosion of the volcanogenic Strzelecki Group also occurred in the mid-Cretaceous as revealed by a number of distinct inversion structures, and erosion of this material will have locally provided very poor quality sand to the basal Latrobe Group.