About the Course
While Julie Andrews might have gambolled across Alpine meadows singing about a slightly curious and somewhat dubious collection of favourite things, I thought we might do something similar. Without singing, and studiously avoiding the dubious, we will investigate some of the curious and many of the interesting structures that grace the continental margins of Australia, all of which make me feel glad.
We will start, quite literally, in the eroded footwall scarp of the Darling Fault (virtual field trip anyone?), the basin bounding fault that graces the edge of the Perth Basin – as good a place as any to consider the long lived nature of fault activity, and the topographic expression of rift structures. The southern margin of Australia provides some classic examples of this – we can imagine how it might once have looked even more spectacular than the East African Rift. But elsewhere on the margin how much has post-rift uplift modified such structures?
The abundance of high quality, public domain seismic data from the Northern Carnarvon and Roebuck Basins reveals the complexity associated with long lived continental margins. The importance of Permian rifting, the complexity of the Triassic, the uniformity of extension in the Jurassic and the curiously shorted lived and sporadic nature of extension in the Lower Cretaceous are all becoming clearer, but throwing up new and interesting questions related to the tectonic and geodynamic evolution of the margin as they do.
We will leap from one corner of Western Australia to another, happily avoiding intra-state travel bans, exploring many of the curiosities that this part of the continent has to offer.
Chris Elders is Professor of Petroleum Geology at Curtin University. Having spent time at Oxford, in Shell and at Royal Holloway (University of London), he has enjoyed spending the last 5 years helping to unravel the complex evolution of Australia’s continental margins.