The geology of Pegasus Basin based on outcrop correlatives in southern Wairarapa and northeastern Marlborough, New Zealand
Acquisition of high quality 2D seismic data by the New Zealand Government in 2009-10 (the PEG09 Survey) sparked new interest in Pegasus Basin, an offshore frontier basin situated east of central New Zealand. Although no wells have been drilled in Pegasus Basin, strata exposed onshore in southern Wairarapa and northeastern Marlborough provide useful analogues for the sedimentary fill of the basin. Using field observations in combination with petrographic analysis and seismic interpretation, this study provides a more complete understanding of the geology of Pegasus Basin. 13 outcrop localities are described from the surrounding southern Wairarapa and northern Marlborough regions, which are inferred to have been deposited in a range of depositional environments including fluvial, terrestrial and shallow marine deposits, through to inner – mid shelf, and deep marine channel-levee and submarine fans, with fine-grained sedimentation at bathyal depths. These outcrops provide representative and well-exposed examples of facies and lithologies typical of the depositional environments that are likely to exist in Pegasus Basin. Petrographic analysis of six Cretaceous and six Neogene sandstones from Marlborough and Wairarapa regions has revealed that they are compositionally classified as litharenites and feldspathic litharenites, derived from the Torlesse Supergroup. Primary porosity is best preserved in Neogene sandstones, whilst Cretaceous sandstones only tend to preserve secondary porosity, in the form of fractures or dissolution of framework grains. Carbonate cementation, compaction and authigenic clay formation are the biggest contributing factors that degrade reservoir quality. Seismic interpretation of the PEG09 survey has revealed that Pegasus Basin contains a sedimentary succession over 10,000 m thick, that mantles Early Cretaceous syn-tectonic strata in various states of deformation attained during mid-Cretaceous subduction at the eastern Gondwana margin. Key horizons mapped extensively over the basin highlight seismic reflection packages, which are linked to described outcrop localities onshore, based on reflection characteristics and geometries. The Miocene succession contains up to 4,000 m of sediments that are likely to include promising reservoir lithologies akin to the Great Marlborough Conglomerate of Marlborough, or the Whakataki Formation of Wairarapa.