Interplay of eustatic, tectonic and autogenic controls on a Late Devonian carbonate platform, northern Canning Basin, Australia

Ian J. Ferguson, Anne Christine Da Silva, Nancy Chow, Annette D. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Frasnian reef complexes along the northern margin of the Canning Basin in northwestern Australia evolved during rifting of the Fitzroy Trough. Geological investigations of the Frasnian Hull platform, which developed on an active tilted fault-block, reveal significant lateral and vertical facies variations superimposed on prominent metre-scale cyclicity. This study uses numerical analyses of facies and magnetic susceptibility data from three measured sections along the Hull platform to test whether a tectonic signal can be distinguished from eustatic and other signals. Geostatistical analysis of facies variations reveals an exponential distribution of thin (<3 m) facies, characteristic of stochastic depositional processes. Thick subtidal facies predominate in the Guppy Hills (GH) and southeastern Hull Range (SHR) sections near the hangingwall margin, and thick shallow-subtidal to intertidal facies dominate the Horse Springs drillcore (HD 14) section near the footwall margin. Power and wavelet spectral analyses indicate a strong periodic component; Average Spectral Misfit and spectral optimisation methods confirm the presence of Milankovitch eccentricity signals and suggest the presence of obliquity and precession signals. However, the results also expose strong temporal and spatial variation providing evidence for tectonic control. Spectral analyses show strongest periodicity is recorded in short intervals that are not correlated across the platform and provide evidence of variations in sedimentation rate and hiatuses. Time series for the neighbouring GH and SHR sections show no overall statistical correlation, and Markov analysis indicates weakly ordered vertical facies transitions that do not correlate across the platform. Subtidal to intertidal facies data from HD 14 core suggest that at least 35% of the section is absent, almost obscuring the Milankovitch signal. The results indicate a complex set of controls on deposition on the Hull platform with local tectonic effects having produced spatio-temporal moderation of the underlying eustatic signals and autogenic processes adding a localised stochastic response.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)312-341
Number of pages30
JournalBasin Research
Issue number1
Early online date14 May 2020
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2021


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