Our understanding of the geological evolution of West Papua (or the Bird's Head Peninsula and Bird's Neck) predominantly stems from a systematic mapping campaign conducted by Indonesian and Australian geologists during the 1970's and 80's, together with the findings of mineral and hydrocarbon exploration by Dutch geologists in the early 1900's. Most of the research that has been conducted since these initial, but comprehensive studies have been associated with continued exploration for hydrocarbons (e.g., around the Salawati and Bintuni Basins) and precious metals (e.g., associated with Grasberg-Ertsburg). Here we present an overview of research conducted over the past five years that was largely funded by several oil exploration companies. Our research did not focus on oil exploration, but instead attempted to update our understanding of the age of magmatic, metamorphic and deformation events, and to improve our knowledge of the regional stratigraphy of West Papua. These new data have been used to develop new tectonic models and paleogeographic maps that provide a framework for future studies in the region to build upon.
Available for download on Thursday, July 08, 2021