Depositional History of Paleocene Sediments in the Offshore Canterbury Basin, New Zealand
The Paleocene interval within the Canterbury Basin has been relatively understudied with respect to the Neogene and Cretaceous intervals. Within the Paleocene interval is the Tartan Formation and the Charteris Bay Sandstone, which are potential source and reservoir rocks respectively. These two formations have not been previously mapped in the offshore Canterbury Basin and their limits have not been defined. This study utilises a database of nearly 12,000km of 2D seismic data together with data from four open–file wells and sidewall core samples from three wells and newly availiable biostratigraphic information to better constrain the chronostratigraphical interpretation of seismic data. Seismic mapping together with corroboration from well correlation and core lithofacies analysis revealed new insights into the development of the offshore Canterbury Basin through the Paleocene. These include the delineation of the lateral extents and thicknesses of the Tartan Formation and Charteris Bay Sandstone and location of the palaeo shelf–slope break and also the development of a new well correlation panel that incorporates the Tartan Formation for the first time. This study presents four new paleogeographic maps for the offshore Canterbury Basin that significantly improves our understanding of the development of the basin during the Paleocene. These maps show that during the Earliest Paleocene, the mudstones of the Katiki Formation were being deposited in the south of the study area, with the siltier sediments of the Conway Formation being deposited in the north. The coarser grained Charteris Bay Sandstone was deposited from Early to possibly Middle Paleocene in the northeast. The mudstones of the Moeraki Formation were being deposited in the south at this time. From Middle to Late Paleocene, the mudstones of the Moeraki Formation were deposited in the south and these mudstones onlapped against the Charteris Bay Sandstone which remained as a high in the north. The Tartan Formation was deposited during the Late Paleocene in the central and southern areas of the offshore Canterbury Basin, during a relative fall in sea–level. Deposition had ceased in the north of the study area or erosion possibly removed Late Paleocene sediments from there. During the Latest Paleocene, the mudstones of the Moeraki Formation were deposited over the Tartan Formation in the central and southern parts of the offshore Canterbury Basin with the northern area undergoing erosion, sediment bypass or both.