3D Gravitational Inversion Modelling of the South Dunedin Sub Basin, Otago, New Zealand
3D gravitational modelling of an infilled coastal sedimentary basin is rare, with almost all 3D gravity publications being based on mineral deposits related to hard rock mineral density features. The sediment-bedrock boundary under the South Dunedin tombolo, New Zealand provides a target to test the application of 3D inversion modelling on a small basin system. The infilled South Dunedin basin has never been fully characterised and is the perfect target for 3D inversion modelling due to a high contrast in density disparity between Holocene sedimentary materials and bedrock.Surveying was conducted using the University of Otago’s Worden gravimeter. Data were collected over 20 days covering about 6.4 km2 with the collection of 320 survey points. This survey was the first gravitational field work aimed at collecting data for 3D inversions by anyone from the Otago University’s Geophysical Team. The inversion software GRAV3D developed by the University of British Columbia-Geophysical Inversion Facility (UBC-GIF) was used for the 3D modelling. 2D modelling confirmed the bedrock sedimentary features seen in the 3D models. With the 3D model producing an insight into the bedrock interface that highlighted the potential of these features include paleo-valley and a potential offset of geological units usually seen as a result of faulting. The model shows that the paleo-channel bedrock interface was preferentially eroding down, rather than meandering across and paleo-surface.Resulting 3D models show the first view of the paleo-valley's sedimentary to bedrock interface clearly, with three main features unearthed for the first time: the ridge running down the centre of the valley, the symmetry of the valley sides and the identification of density variation in the Holocene sediments across the South Dunedin infill section. This small-scale variance, not seen in other models of the paleo-valley highlights the fact that more still can be learnt on what is beneath one of New Zealand’s main cities.Due to early errors within the early processing of data, that were caught only at the marking stage of the thesis, some features discussed above would have been affected and re-modelling from that stage onward is needed. In saying that all models that have been produced are still believed to have the same broad shape as discussed and will not have been affected much by the modelling process. Due to working commitments I have foregone the reprocessing of the data and will be satisfied that the first ever 3D gravitational modelling at Otago University was produced to the highest of standards.Further study is needed to determine the potential applications of 3D gravity modelling in sedimentary basins. With reprocessing of the models plus the confirmation of features seen in the models produced within this thesis could be completed by high-resolution seismic survey or drill holes into the South Dunedin Basin.
Advisor: Gorman, Andrew
Degree Name: Master of Science
Degree Discipline: Geology
Publisher: University of Otago
Keywords: Geophysics; Dunedin; Harbour; Gravitational; 3d; Inversion
Research Type: Thesis