Stunning seafloor canyons imaged by newly released 3D seismic reflection data

Suzanne Bull & Malcolm Arnot

A dramatic series of seafloor canyons has been revealed by seismic interpretation of the seabed from the Vulcan 3D survey. The canyons are up to 700 m wide and 300 m deep.

A dramatic series of seafloor canyons has been revealed by seismic interpretation of the seabed from the Vulcan 3D survey. Acquired in 2015 by Woodside Petroleum Ltd, it covers an area of 1,090 km2 in the Northern Taranaki Basin and has recently been released into the public domain. The canyons are up to 700 m wide and 300 m deep and can be seen to transition into sinuous seafloor channels upon reaching the more gently sloping basin floor.

It’s also possible to observe in detail the rugose and degraded nature of the toe of the continental slope, including small rotated slump blocks, abandoned channel pathways and pock marks related to fluid escape clustered at the base of the slope. When combined with the adjacent Romney 3D survey, some of the channels can be followed for distances of up to 80 km, and may serve as a modern analogue for the economically important Miocene-age slope and channel systems, as well as presenting opportunities for research into submarine canyon evolution, controls on channel development, submarine slope processes, and shallow fluid flow.

A dramatic series of seafloor canyons has been revealed by seismic interpretation of the seabed from the Vulcan 3D survey. When combined with the adjacent Romney 3D survey, some of the channels can be followed for distances of up to 80 km

While industry acquired seismic reflection data is typically targeted at imaging the deeper subsurface, it is also commonly used by the Petroleum Department to study a range of geological processes as part of our Sedimentary Basin Research. The Vulcan 3D survey is a fantastic example of how we can apply seismic reflection data to the analysis of present day sea floor processes at a level of detail comparable to modern bathymetry data.

2nd New Zealand Petroleum Geoscience Workshop 28-29 September 2017. GNS Science, Lower Hutt

A real highlight for the Petroleum Geoscience Department was the recent 2nd NZ Petroleum Geoscience Workshop hosted at our Avalon offices on 28–29 September 2017. This 1½ day workshop was attended by about 90 people, including about 40 from petroleum exploration and consultancy companies, 10 from MBIE, 13 university collaborators, and about 30 GNS scientists and technicians. The workshop featured 37 oral and 10 poster presentations from GNS staff and university collaborators on latest research results from GNS' four petroleum and gas hydrate research programmes. Additionally, an invited presentation from David Darby of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment discussed their future initiatives in petroleum geoscience. The workshop provided an excellent opportunity for the researchers and students to not only present their results to the exploration industry, but also to network with the company staff and other researchers. A lovely barbeque dinner and drinks rounded out proceedings on the first day. We would like to thank all those who attended the workshop for contributing to such a successful event.

The oral and poster presentations are available for download from PBE under the Technical Studies menu

Guest watch Dr Karen Higgs give a presentation during the 2nd New Zealand Petroleum Geoscience Workshop

Guest watch Dr Karen Higgs give a presentation during the 2nd New Zealand Petroleum Geoscience Workshop

Taranaki Basin geology provides new insights into the break-up of the Gondwana supercontinent

A recently completed study of the geological history of New Zealand’s offshore northwestern region has revealed new insights into the break-up of the Gondwana supercontinent during the time of the dinosaurs and the period when both the Tasman Sea and the continent Zealandia formed, upon which modern-day New Zealand exists. The study was undertaken by GNS Science geologists Dominic Strogen, Hannu Seebeck, and Peter King, along with Professor Andy Nicol from the University of Canterbury.

The scientists analysed New Zealand’s world-class open-file dataset of sub-surface seismic reflection data from the Taranaki and Reinga-Northland basins. They also utilised insights into the region’s sub-surface geology provided by the province’s many historical offshore exploration wells.

For several hundred million years, the continental crust that would eventually become Zealandia lay along the eastern side of the Gondwana supercontinent. Australia and Antarctica, also part of Gondwana at that time, were essentially Zealandia’s next-door neighbours. About 105-million-years-ago — for reasons that remain uncertain — Gondwana began to break apart. The powerful tectonic forces associated with the break-up of the supercontinent stretched the continental crust around the New Zealand region to breaking point, and by 83-million-years-ago Zealandia separated from Gondwana, with new ocean basins forming between the two continents. Such stretching and breaking of Earth’s crust is termed “rifting”; these tectonic processes continued to separate northern Zealandia (which also encompasses New Caledonia, the Lord Howe Rise, Norfolk Island, the Challenger Plateau, and North Island) from Australia until rifting stopped about 55-million-years-ago. The Tasman Sea was formed during this process, and the region that would eventually become New Zealand looked vastly different to what it does today.

: A series of maps depicting how the greater Taranaki Basin region may have looked in the ancient past.  Grey and green colours show land, pale-yellow and blue colours show marine environments (darker blue colours indicate progressively deeper water).  The 98 million-years-ago map represents the first “Zealandia” phase of rifting, the 82 million-years-ago map shows the short-lived period of uplift and erosion, and the 77 and 62 million-years-ago maps show the second phase of rifting.  Of note is how vastly different the geography of the Taranaki Basin area was to that we see today.

: A series of maps depicting how the greater Taranaki Basin region may have looked in the ancient past. Grey and green colours show land, pale-yellow and blue colours show marine environments (darker blue colours indicate progressively deeper water). The 98 million-years-ago map represents the first “Zealandia” phase of rifting, the 82 million-years-ago map shows the short-lived period of uplift and erosion, and the 77 and 62 million-years-ago maps show the second phase of rifting. Of note is how vastly different the geography of the Taranaki Basin area was to that we see today.

The novelty of this study is the two distinct, and separate, phases of rifting that were observed. The first, named the “Zealandia rift phase” by the researchers, occurred between 105–83-million-years ago; it created a series of north–northwest-trending sedimentary basins (depressions, or low points on Earth’s surface) in the Taranaki-Northland-Reinga region, in the initial phases of separation of Zealandia from Gondwana. The researchers found that sedimentary basins were also formed in many other parts of Zealandia at this time, such as in the Canterbury and Otago regions. A short-lived period between 83–80-million-years-ago saw uplift and erosion occur across much of what now comprises the offshore Taranaki and northwest Nelson regions. This period of uplift was quickly followed by a second phase of rifting and thinning of the continental crust in a zone up to 150 km wide through the West Coast–Taranaki region between 80–55-million-years-ago. This second period of rifting also formed sedimentary basins, into which organic-matter-rich sediments were deposited that later formed many of the famous West Coast coal seams.

Dr Dominic Strogen, the study’s lead author, has said “This study is a great example of how geological data gathered and paid for by petroleum explorers and the New Zealand Government, can be freely used by scientists to study a wide range of earth processes, from petroleum prospectivity, to natural hazards research, to global climate change. The study has helped geologists better predict when and where coal-bearing rocks — from which petroleum can form — were deposited. It has also helped scientists better understand how continents break-up and how ocean basins form”. Such rifting and separation of continents can be seen actively occurring today in the Great Rift Basin in Africa and the Red Sea of Arabia, and is a fundamental Earth process that continues to influence the topography of New Zealand to this very day.

The study has recently been published in the prestigious Journal of the Geological Society, London. The full publication details are:

Strogen, D.P., Seebeck, H., Nicol, A. & King, P.R., 2017. Two-phase Cretaceous–Paleocene rifting in the Taranaki Basin region, New Zealand; implications for Gondwana break-up. Journal of the Geological Society, London. v. 174, p. 929-946. doi: 10.1144/jgs2016-160.

Success for GeoCamp!

GNS Science’s GeoCamp outreach programme has been named the winner of the PEPANZ-sponsored “Community Initiative of the Year Award” at the 2017 Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards. Our entry was based on the 2016 GeoCamp held in Kaitaia, and also drew on experiences from previous GeoCamps in Napier and New Plymouth. The award was presented by Energy Minister Judith Collins and head of the Petroleum Exploration and Production Association of New Zealand Cameron Madgwick, at a gala dinner held at Auckland’s Langham Hotel. Kyle Bland, from the Petroleum Geosciences department, was part of the team present at the dinner and joined others in donning a suit and black tie rather than his usual shorts and polar fleece.

Members of the GeoCamp who attended the awards dinner: L to R, Julian Thomson, Val Stucker, Dave Try, Richard Levy, Lucia Roncaglia, Ian Simpson, Kyle Bland, Selena Bercic (Far North REAP), Cameron Madgwick (PEPANZ, award sponsor), and Joe Prebble.

Members of the GeoCamp who attended the awards dinner: L to R, Julian Thomson, Val Stucker, Dave Try, Richard Levy, Lucia Roncaglia, Ian Simpson, Kyle Bland, Selena Bercic (Far North REAP), Cameron Madgwick (PEPANZ, award sponsor), and Joe Prebble.

The judges said the GeoCamp initiative had delivered broad community benefits, reflected by a significant amount of positive feedback from teachers, students, sponsors, and community stakeholders: “The GeoCamps have made a real difference in young people’s lives, as well as teaching the teachers and making communities more aware of the environment around them.” The award is also a tribute to the many GNS staff involved in developing the programme, and to GeoCamp’s sponsors including the Todd Foundation, Statoil, Far North REAP, the National Aquarium of New Zealand, Ritchies Coachlines, and GNS Science.
Shortly after the winners were announced, the team received congratulatory emails from Far North District Mayor John Carter, and Editor of The Northland Age Peter Jackson.

Since the first event was developed in 2011, GeoCamp has grown into a key component of the Geological Resources Division’s outreach and community engagement initiatives. GeoCamps comprise a two-week hands-on learning and experiences programme for intermediate-school-aged students and their teachers. The aim is to create an experience as close to doing ‘real science’ as possible, driven largely by the participants themselves. By ‘teaching the teachers’ the GeoCamp experience inspires them to develop similar initiatives in their own schools. Teacher feedback shows that GeoCamp participation sparks immediate changes in teacher practice and confidence levels. A secondary goal of GeoCamps is to improve the scientific literacy of the public.
Following this year’s (2017) GeoCamp in Kaitaia, we have been running fortnightly Skype sessions with students and teachers from two of the schools in the Far North (Ngataki and Te Hapua). The sessions cover a wide range of topics, with the students eager to share with us their latest discoveries, questions, and science projects. To build on this momentum, Kyle and Richard travelled north to visit several GeoCamp schools in late August to further share in their newfound scientific interest.

Make preparations for a field trip to Taranaki

Coastal Cliffs outcrops seen on a North Taranaki field trip.

For several decades, GNS Science has been conducting field trips to the world renown deep-water outcrops of north Taranaki for industry clients. These multi-day trips concentrate on the superbly exposed coastal outcrops of the Late Miocene Mount Messenger and Urenui formations. They offer participants the opportunity to examine a wide range of deep-water depositional architectures from relatively unconfined basin floor fan systems, to mass transport deposits, base of slope turbidites, to sediments filling canyons on the contemporaneous slope. Outcrop observations are supplemented with an array of seismic and well-based datasets, biostratigraphic correlations and numerous publications by GNS workers.

Planning is underway for field trips in early 2018, the optimal period to view these outcrops. There are a limited number of potential dates over January to April to view these rocks. Please contact Business Development or call us on +64 4 570 4560 to discuss potential times, scope and costs.

Organic Geochemistry Laboratory

GNS Science and Victoria University of Wellington have further developed their cooperative Organic Geochemistry Laboratory at the National Isotope Centre in Gracefield, Lower Hutt, one of only two organic geochemistry laboratories in New Zealand. The laboratory provides a wet chemistry facility for the extraction of organic compounds from samples, and separation, purification and analysis of a variety of organic compounds by gas and liquid chromatography. It now offers a dedicated space for biomarker research in environmental and petroleum research.

Biomarkers are organic compounds originating from living organisms. They can be used to trace environmental processes in all kinds of environmental samples, such as soils, sediments, sedimentary rocks and crude oils allowing scientists to reconstruct past environmental conditions, understand human impacts on the environment, and trace sources of crude oil within sedimentary basins.

Sebastian Naeher in the Organic Geochem Lab

Sebastian Naeher in the Organic Geochem Lab. Photo Credit GNS Science

What does this mean for environmental research?

Biomarkers and their isotopes can be used to reconstruct water column and air temperatures, pH values, salinity, stratification or redox conditions, pollution levels, and vegetation changes, giving us insight into human impacts and environmental change.

They can also provide insight into the biogeochemical cycling of carbon (e.g., to learn about feedback on climate change), nitrogen (e.g., nutrient dynamics), hydrogen (e.g., precipitation), oxygen (e.g., paleotemperature reconstruction) and sulfur (e.g., preservation of organic matter).

What does this mean for petroleum research?

We can also use biomarkers to link crude oils back to their source rocks and to distinguish genetically related oil families. We can determine the degree of thermal maturity and biodegradation of oils and interpret the age and depositional conditions of their source rocks. This information helps scientists and oil exploration companies to understand where and when discovered oils were formed, and where to look for new oil fields.

To find out more about our biomarker research or the laboratory, contact the head of the laboratory, Dr Sebastian Naeher.

GeoCamp 2017 a finalist in the 2017 Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards

Seven GNS staff, including two from the Department of Petroleum Geoscience (Kyle Bland and Malcolm Arnot) have recently spent two weeks in the Far North as part of the 2017 “Discover Hidden Worlds” GeoCamp.  This is the fourth such event that GNS has run, following others in Napier (2012), New Plymouth (2013), and Kaitaia (2016).  Sponsored by Statoil and hosted by Far North REAP and Te Ahu in Kaitaia, the 2017 event saw 32 students and teachers, from six schools, participate in a range of activities (Te Hapua, Ngataki, Abundant Life, Taipa Area, Ahipara, and Pangaru Area schools).  The hands-on field-based programme was centred around a carbon-cycle theme, and included fieldtrips to Henderson Bay, Coopers Beach, Herekino Forest, Karikari Peninsula, and Ahipara.  Participants learned fundamental scientific skills including how to make good observations, as well as discovering how carbon cycles through different Earth systems, learning about ecological niches, and the effects of increasing and decreasing carbon dioxide content in Earth’s atmosphere.  Whilst in Kaitaia, Kyle gave a well-attended public talk at Te Ahu, titled “The tale (tail) of Te Ika-a-Māui.  A beginners’ guide to the geology of Te Tai Tokerau”.

The GeoCamp programme has since been named one of three finalists in the 2017 Deloitte Energy Excellence Awards, in the “Community Initiative of the Year” category.

The GeoCamp team would like to thank Statoil for their generous sponsorship, and to also acknowledge the valuable support from Far North REAP, Te Ahu (Far North District Council), Ritchies Coachlines, and the Petroleum Basin Research programme at GNS.

Group Photo from the 2017 Geocamp

Photo credit: GNS Science

Students having fun at the 2017 Geocamp

Photo credit: GNS Science

The Geocamp 2017 scientist goof off

Photo credit: GNS Science

Petroleum Geoscience Workshop, 22-23 September 2016

GNS Science recently held a very successful two-day petroleum geoscience workshop in Lower Hutt. A range of presentations were made by GNS Science staff and university colleagues on wide-ranging topics in our research portfolio. Oral and poster presentations covered both long-running and recently commenced projects, and show cased the diverse range of research undertaken across a number of departments. Approximately 100 industry, university and GNS staff attended. With such a successful programme, we plan to make this an annual event.

The programme and a selection of the presentations are available below. 

Core Workshops for Graduate Students

For the past two years, the PBR programme has been supporting a 1-day training workshop for graduate students, teaching them how to work with and describe industry core. Our first workshop was held in November 2014 in New Plymouth, and we repeated the workshop in November 2015. Both events have been a part of the national Geoscience Society of NZ (GSNZ) conference. We were fortunate to use the CoreLab facility in New Plymouth and the NZ Petroleum & Minerals core store in Featherston on these two occasions, and to have sponsorship from OMV and PEPANZ. Both workshops have been run by Greg Browne and Mark Lawrence. These workshops form part of the activities of the Sedimentology Special Interest Group (SSIG) within GSNZ, a group set up to promote communication and support among sedimentologists and provide a forum for discussion of aspects of sedimentology, stratigraphy and sedimentary geology in New Zealand. If anyone wishes to become involved with this group, please email the Convenor Mark Lawrence

Greg Browne shows graduate students cores at the CoreLab facility in New Plymouth

The core workshop was primarily aimed at providing university students with experience in logging (core handling, description) and interpreting sedimentary cores from industry wells, techniques though that are common when using cores cut for environmental and other studies. Four different cores from the Taranaki Basin, each about 10-20 m in length, representing deep-water to fluvial depositional environments were used. After a 30 minute introductory PowerPoint presentation on core types, handling and marking techniques, students were divided into groups to view and describe each of the cores. At the end of the day there was a 30 minute wrap-up presentation by the participants on each core.

Participants enjoy a range of slumps and slides in deep-water systems

A three-day geological excursion was held as part of the 7th International Symposium on Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences meeting held in Wellington in November 2015. Malcolm Arnot and Greg Browne from GNS Science, together with colleagues Lorna Strachan of the University of Auckland and Sabastian Cardona from Colorado School of Mines were field trip leaders for the trip which started in New Plymouth and ended in Auckland. The seventeen participants came from eight countries and after a delayed start to the trip caused by weather problems for the departing flight from Wellington, all participants enjoyed three fantastic days of geology often to remote parts of the New Zealand coastline to view a range of depositional styles in Miocene-aged deep water mass transport deposits (MTDs). The weather too was great and people seemed to really enjoy the seismic scale of the outcrops we visited. We had two days in north Taranaki looking at outcrops within the Late Miocene Mount Messenger Formation, and the final day was spent north of Auckland looking at Early Miocene deposits at Whangaparaoa Peninsula.

Early Miocene MTD units at Army Bay near Auckland.

Early Miocene MTD units at Army Bay near Auckland.

Participants assembled in front of Tongaporutu Beach, North Taranaki.

Participants assembled in front of Tongaporutu Beach, North Taranaki.

Other Highlights

Peter King was a co-convenor of the “Stratigraphy and Applied Paleontology” theme, and session co-chair for “Seismic Stratigraphy”, at AAPG International Convention and Exhibition, Melbourne, September 2015.

Rob Funnell was invited by the Theme Chair for the AAPG ICE held in Melbourne in September 2015 to join the organising committee for the Geochemistry and Basin Modelling Theme.

In 2015, Suzanne Bull co-edited “Submarine Mass Movements and their Consequences”, published by Springer. The volume title is: Lamarche, G., Mountjoy, J., Bull, S., Hubble, T., Krastel, S., Lane, E., Micallef, A., Moscardelli, L., Mueller, C., Pecher, I., Woelz, S. (Eds) 2015. Submarine Mass Movements and Their Consequences - 7th International Symposium. Dordrecht: Springer. Advances in natural and technological hazards research

American Association of Petroleum Geologists International Conference and Exhibition 2015 posters and Presentations 

Congratulations to Angela Griffin and her team on winning the Ziad Beydoun Memorial Award, given to the best AAPG poster session paper presented at the AAPG International Conference. 

Reservoir Characterisation of the East Coast and Pegasus Basins, Eastern New Zealand - Ziad Beydoun Memorial Award winner. 

Angela Griffin, Kyle Bland, Brad Field, Gareth Crutchley, Richard Kellett, Dominic Strogen, and Mark Lawrence. AAPG 2015 ICE Poster. 

Tusar Sahoo, Karsten Kroeger, Glenn Thrasher, Stuart Munday, Hugh Mingard, Nick Cozens, and Matthew Hill. AAPG 2015 ICE oral presentation. 

Geoscience 2015 posters and Presentations

The Geoscience Society of New Zealand annual conference (GSNZ 2015) was held in Wellington, hosted by the staff of Victoria University of Wellington, in association with GNS Science. 2015 also marks GNS Science’s 150 years as an earth sciences research organisation

Angela Griffin. 2015 GSNZ oral presentation. 

Kyle Bland, Malcolm Arnot, Hannu Seebeck, Dominic Strogen, Mark Lawrence, & Angela Griffin. 2015 GSNZ oral presentation. 

Troy Collier , Greg Browne, & James Crampton. 2015 GSNZ poster. 

David McNamara, Angela Griffin, Mark Lawrence, & Cécile Massiot. 2015 GSNZ oral presentation. 

IMOG 2015 Presentations

The 27th International Meeting on Organic Geochemistry (IMOG 2015), the official biennial conference of the European Association of Organic Geochemists (EAOG), was held in Prague (Praha), Czech Republic in September.  

Richard Sykes and Klaus-G. Zink. IMOG 2015 oral presentation. 

Geosciences 2014 GNS presentations.

The Geoscience Society of New Zealand held their 2014 annual conference in New Plymouth. A number of GNS staff presented talks over a range of subjects, these have been made available below.

Andy Tulloch, Nick Mortimer, Terry Spell, Jahan Ramezani.

Greg Browne, Nick Mortimer, Hugh Morgans,Chris Clowes, Chris Hollis, Alan Beu.

Chris Hollis & Jerry Dickens.

Mike Isaac.

Nick Mortimer, Barry Kohn, Diane Seward, Terry Spell, Andy Tulloch.

Mark Rattenbury.

Mark Lawrence, Hugh Morgans, Alan Beu.

Dominic Strogen, Hannu Seebeck, Andy Nicol, Kyle Bland, Peter King.

Todd Ventura, B.D. Field, K.J. Bland, D.P. Strogen, C.J. Hollis, & R. Sykes

Petroleum Basin Explorer Version 2.0 is now live.

A new format with new features.

The Taranaki 3D map

This new map contains 3D datasets that can be viewed in cross section. Click on the icon on the left hand side of the map and select a dataset. Click once to start drawing a cross section, double click to finish. A cross section will then appear.

New Map User Interface

The map search bar and functions have moved to the left towards the legend, and now use less intrusive buttons. Hover over an icon to learn what it does. Try the new switching projection co-ordinante systems with the options menu ( icon).

Live Petroleum License Data

Our petroleum permits and block offers are now provided through a live data feed from NZPAM directly to ensure all licensing data is current and up to date.

Recent Publications 2014

Sykes, R; Volk, H.; George, S.C.; Ahmed, M.; Higgs, K.E.; Johansen, P.E.; Snowdon, L.R. 2014. Marine influence helps preserves the oil potential of coaly source rocks: Eocene Mangahewa Formation, Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. Organic Geochemistry 66, 140−163.

  • This paper examines one of the key factors that give New Zealand coals their capacity to generate and expel oil. Globally, coals have traditionally been regarded by the major exploration companies as gas-prone and this has been a major impediment to attracting sufficient exploration investment to New Zealand, because coaly rocks are the primary source rock type in most New Zealand basins. The motivation for this paper was to demonstrate that the total oil potential and oil expulsion efficiency of New Zealand coals have been considerably enhanced by marine influences within the coal-forming depositional environment.

Rotzien, J.R., Lowe, D.R., King, P.R., Browne, G.H. 2014. Stratigraphic architecture and evolution of a deep-water slope channel-levee and overbank apron: the Upper Miocene Upper Mount Messenger Formation, Taranaki Basin. Journal of Marine & Petroleum Geology

Our staff on the radio

Rob Funnell, head of the Petroleum Geoscience department, was interviewed on Newstalk ZB about the implications for the petroleum industry after the Anadarko Romney-1 well was plugged and abandoned. Listen here.

Newly Added to Petroleum Basin Explorer (PBE)

  • East Coast Basin Source Rock Properties Database - This new database provides Rock-Eval pyrolysis and vitrinite reflectance data for 1115 well and outcrop samples of Cretaceous to Neogene rocks from the East Coast Basin of New Zealand. It represents an update of the earlier database of Hollis & Manzano-Kareah (2005). Various sample stratigraphic assignments have been updated and additional data have been included from public domain reports, university theses, and unpublished GNS Science data sets.
  • Downloadable Science Reports - A range of GNS Science Reports relevant to petroleum exploration are now available for free.
  • Regulatory Map - This new map shows This map shows government, iwi, and environmental data relevant to petroleum exploration. The DoC layers are very large data-sets, so be patient as they load.

GNS Science at the Advantage 2013 New Zealand Petroleum Conference

Fifteen staff recently attended the Advantage New Zealand Petroleum Conference in Auckland. A series of oral and poster presentations were made covering a wide range of petroleum topics (listed below). Congratulations are due to Tusar Sahoo, Kyle Bland and Dominic Strogen for winning the best technical poster award. The GNS Science booth was a busy place to be with a lot of interest coming from range of companies interested in the sedimentary basins of New Zealand.

Oral Presentations

The GNS both at the Advantage Petroleum Conference 2013

Bache, F., Stagpoole, V. and Sutherland, R. The Reinga Basin, NW New Zealand: Seismic Stratigraphy, Tectonic Evolution and Implications for Hydrocarbon Exploration - 805kb pdf

Davy, B. Cretaceous deformation of South-Eastern New Zealand following the Hikurangi Plateau subduction and jamming - 862kb pdf

Pecher, I., Davy, B., Bialas, J., Klaucke, I., Coffin, R., Hillman,J., Waghorn, K., Kroeger, K., Sarkar, S., Papenberg, C. and Rose, P. Geophysical and geochemical studies of seafloor depressions on the Chatham Rise – First Results from the SO-226 Survey 4.3MB pdf

Plaza-Faverola, A., Pecher, I., Kroeger, K., Henrys, S. and Barnes, P. Potential sources of thermogenic gas sustaining concentrated hydrate zones offshore southern Hikurangi margin, New Zealand’s North Island 3MB pdf

Sykes, R. and Funnell, R. Some constraints on the charging of Tui, Maui, and Maari fields, offshore Taranaki Basin 7.2MB pdf

Poster Presentations

Browne, G., Sahoo T. and Campbell, H. The Tupuangi Formation, Pitt Island. Seismic and reservoir characteristics of a mid-Cretaceous deltaic succession exposed in the Chatham Islands

Bull, S., Fohrmann, M., Zhu, H., Hill, M., Kroeger, M. and Reilly, C. Refined geological constraints for the southern Taranaki Basin as part of the 4D Taranaki project

Higgs, K. and Raine I. Reservoir quality prediction for the Kaimiro Formation, Taranaki Basin

Hill, M., Fohrmann, M., Zhu, H. and Bull, S. Velocity modelling in the southern Taranaki Basin, 4D Taranaki project

Kroeger, K., Funnell. R., Fohrmann, M. and Hill, M. Recent advances in understanding Taranaki petroleum systems: the Kupe-Maniaia fairway

Sahoo, T, Bland, K. and Strogen, D. Seismic sequence stratigraphic framework and paleogeography of the mid Cretaceous-Neogene section in the Great South Basin

Wellington Gold Award for PEGI project.

The innovative information web portal that helps oil exploration companies in their search for oil and gas in New Zealand has won GNS Science the Discovering Gold category in the 2012 Wellington Gold Awards.

The award was for the Petroleum Exploration Geoscience Initiative (PEGI) project, which was jointly funded by New Zealand Petroleum and Minerals and GNS Science.

Visit the New Zealand Petroleum Basin Explorer (PBE).

See the full GNS Science press release here



Petroleum well summary sheets from Taranaki Basin, New Zealand: Selected wells from the Maui and Tui Field areas is released.

Well Sheets from 11 exploration and appraisal wells: Amokura-1, Kiwi-1, Maui-1, Maui-2, Maui-3, Maui-7, MB-P(8), Moki-1, Moki-2A, Pateke-2, and Tui-1 are now available through the New Zealand Petroleum Basin Explorer (PBE).


Petroleum Exploration and Geosciences Initiative (PEGI) is released

GNS Science releases 14 new products to the industry for free, see the GNS Science press release.

A full list of the new products available through the New Zealand Petroleum Basin Explorer (PBE) can be found here.

Other GNS Science Petroleum Geoscience data products are listed by geographical region on our products page.

Geological Transect Across the Wairoa Area

Insights into elements of the East Coast petroleum system

GNS Data Series 11a product compiles industry and research data on the Wairoa area of northern Hawke's Bay and summarises interpretations and conclusions relating mainly to the hydrocarbon reservoir potential of the Middle Miocene Tunanui Formation. Aspects addressed include clastic and fractured reservoir quality, seal quality, seismic interpretation and facies, faults and fault seal and the present stress regime.

Bibliographic reference

Field, B., Baur, J., Bland, K., Browne, G., Griffin, A., Ilg, B., Juniper, Z., Lawrence, M., Marrett, R., Mildren, S., Milner, M., Morgans, H., Roncaglia, L., Uruski, C., Zhu H. 2011. Geological Transect Across the Wairoa Area: Insights into elements of the East Coast petroleum system. GNS Data Series 11a.

FREE in the (PBE)

Updated Paleogeographic maps of the Taranaki Basin and surrounds. 

As part of the facies characterisation objective of the 4D Taranaki (4DT) Project, a regional reassessment of the paleogeographic evolution of the Taranaki Basin and surrounding areas has produced a set of 31 maps spanning the Late Cretaceous to present day, which expand on those from previous studies and incorporates significant new data. These maps capture the most important aspects of the tectonic and sedimentary evolution of the Taranaki Basin, and form the basis for ongoing detailed paleofacies mapping and basin modelling studies.

GNS Data Series 5a

The product is available in two GIS geo-databases:

Strogen, D.P. (compiler), 2011. GIS project: Updated paleogeographic maps for the Taranaki Basin and surrounds - Cretaceous-Paleogene: early rift to maximum flooding. GNS Science data series, 5a.

Strogen, D.P. (compiler), 2011. GIS project: Updated paleogeographic maps for the Taranaki Basin and surrounds - Neogene: active margin tectonics. GNS Science data series, 5b.

Both of the above are combined on one CD priced at $30 plus postage.

Full bibliographic reference of the publicly available report is:

Strogen, D.P. (compiler), 2011. Updated paleogeographic maps for the Taranaki Basin and surrounds. GNS Science Report, 2010/53. 83p.

Priced at $45 plus postage.

Chapter bibliographic references to reflect the relative authorships of the components of the publicly available report are:

Strogen, D.P., Baur, J.R., Bland, K.J. and King, P.R., 2011a. Cretaceous-Paleogene: early rift to maximum flooding. In: Strogen, D.P. (compiler), Updated paleogeographic maps for the Taranaki Basin and surrounds. GNS Science Report, 2010/53, pp.11-35.

Strogen, D.P., Bland, K.J., Baur, J.R., King, P.R., Vonk, A.J. and Kamp, P.J.J., 2011b. Neogene: active margin tectonics. In: Strogen, D.P. (compiler), Updated paleogeographic maps for the Taranaki Basin and surrounds. GNS Science Report, 2010/53, pp. 36-60.

Recent Publications

K.F. Kroeger, R.H. Funnell, A. Nicol, M. Fohrmann, K.J. Bland, P.R. King. 3D crustal-scale heat-flow regimes at a developing active margin (Taranaki Basin, New Zealand) Tectonophysics 591 (2013) 175–193

J. Sippel, M. Scheck-Wenderoth, B. Lewerenz, K.F. Kroeger. A crust-scale 3D structural model of the Beaufort-Mackenzie Basin (Arctic Canada) Tectonophysics 591 (2013) 30–51

Bland, K.J.; Hendy, A.J.W.; Kamp, P.J.J.; Nelson, C.S. in press. Macrofossil biofacies in the Late Neogene of Hawke's Bay: applications to paleogeography. New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics.

Gorman, A.R., Hill, M.G., Orpin, A.R., Koons, P.O., Norris, R.J., Landis, C.A., Allan, T.M.H., Johnstone, T., Gray, F.L., Wilson, D., Osterberg, E.C. 2013. Quaternary shelf structures SE of the South Island imaged by high-resolution seismic profiling. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics 56, p. 68-82.

Results from high-resolution seismic surveys collected over several decades at the University of Otago has recently been published in the NZ Journal of Geology and Geophysics. One of the authors Matt Hill from GNS Science, was instrumental in writing the code that digitised the original analogue data collected by the single-channel boomer seismic surveys, and converting these into SEG-Y format. This enabled digital processing of the data such as deconvolution, spatial filtering and migration, as well as more effective archiving of the data.

Greg Browne wins Harold Wellman Prize.

Greg Browne won the Harold Wellman Prize at the annual New Zealand Geoscience Society Conference held in Auckland in December 2010. Greg was the first to discover dinosaur footprints from New Zealand, and published these findings in the New Zealand Journal of Geology and Geophysics in 2009. LINK . The discovery is also the first record of dinosaur remains in the South Island. The find was made in tidal deposits of the Late Cretaceous North Cape Formation in northwest Nelson, and comprise a series of localities where a range of footprint sizes and morphologies are present. They were all formed by sauropods, large herbivorous dinosaurs with rather club-like feet. Full abstract.

Browne, G.H. 2009. First New Zealand record of probable dinosaur footprints from the Late Cretaceous North Cape Formation, northwest Nelson. New Zealand Journal of Geology & Geophysics 52, 367-377.

Paper on Late Cretaceous shallow marine sandstones published.

A recent paper published in the journal Marine and Petroleum Geology LINK reviews the geology of Late Cretaceous rocks of Taranaki Basin. Authors Karen Higgs, Malcolm Arnot, Greg Browne, and Liz Kennedy have integrated outcrop and subcrop data in this review paper, which emphasises the characteristics of these potentially significant reservoir facies. GNS workers in related papers, have described much already about these sediments with respect to their source rock potential. In this paper the sedimentology of Rakopi and North Cape formation rocks are described, integrating wireline logs and biostratigraphy, petrographic data, and reservoir quality, with revised paleogeographies for the entire offshore portion of the basin (including 17 wells from Ariki-1 in the north to Cook-1 in the south). Full abstract.

Higgs, K.E., Arnot, M.J., Browne, G.H., Kennedy E.M. 2010. Reservoir potential of Late Cretaceous terrestrial to shallow marine sandstones, Taranaki Basin, New Zealand. Marine and Petroleum Geology 27, p. 1849-1871.