Aaron Cummings

PhD Student

Telephone: +61 8 8303 4300
Facsimile: +61 8 8303 4345
E-mail: cummings@ncpgg.adelaide.edu.au

PhD Project:

Structural History and Hydrocarbon Migration in the Bass Basin.

Commenced: 2000

Supervisors: Prof. Richard Hillis; Dr Peter Tingate

Project support: Mineral Resources Tasmania (MRT); Globex Far East

Scholarship support: Australian Postgraduate Award and MRT PhD Supplementary Scholarship

Knowledge of the structure of the Bass Basin at the time of hydrocarbon generation and migration is required to predict hydrocarbon migration pathways. A model of basin evolution is being developed in order to define the timing and nature of major tectonic events that occurred in the Bass Basin region. This model is based on both kinematic structural analysis of seismic sections and on an evaluation of the subsidence history of the basin. The structural restoration software 2DMove and 3Dmove are being used in order to reconstruct basin architecture to the time of hydrocarbon generation and migration. Structural analysis is being combined with maturation modelling to elucidate the probable timing of hydrocarbon generation and the initial migration pathways.

In addition to providing an understanding of basin configuration at the time of hydrocarbon generation and initial migration, structural analysis will focus on the localised Tertiary inversion within the Bass Basin and its influence on the breaching of existing traps, and possible subsequent updip remigration of hydrocarbons. Specifically, the project will document the characteristics (eg. orientation) of structures that have undergone inversion/reactivation in the Tertiary as well as those that have not been reactivated. A model describing the effect of structural inversion on seal breaching within the Bass Basin will be developed.

Finally, the project will analyse the contemporary stress field of the Bass Basin in order to predict which faults and fractures are currently close to critically (with respect to tensile and shear failure) and thus which carry the greatest risk of seal breach.


Aaron completed his BSc majoring in Earth Sciences from the University of Queensland in 1997, going on to graduate with first class honours in 1998. His honours thesis was entitled "Geology of the Cania region, western Yarrol Province, southern central Queensland", which was sponsored by North Limited. He began a PhD at the National Centre for Petroleum Geology and Geophysics in 2000. His current research is an investigation of the structural history and hydrocarbon migration in the Bass Basin. He received an AAPG Grants in Aid scholarship in 2001. Aaron worked part-time for a number of years with Placer Exploration (Brisbane office), and has also worked with Geoconsult and the Queensland Museum. He is a member of PESA.