This chapter of the bibliography contains 213 pages with over 18134 references on New Guinea island and surrounding islands and marine areas (103 pages / 808 titles for New Guinea and West Papua). The western part of New Guinea island is part of Indonesia, and is now called West Papua, but historically it has also been known as Irian Jaya, Irian Barat and Netherlands New Guinea. The eastern part of the island is the independent nation of Papua New Guinea (PNG).

It is subdivided in six areas:

  1. VIII.1. New Guinea General and West Papua (Irian Jaya)
  2. VIII.2. Misool
  3. VIII.3. Arafura Shelf
  4. IX.11. Papua New Guinea (East New Guinea main island)
  5. IX.12. Papua New Guinea (Bismarck Sea, Soloman Sea, Woodlark Basin)
  6. IX.13. Papua New Guinea (Gulf of Papua, Coral Sea)

Download pdf - VIII. NEW GUINEA (2.4 MB)

The southern half of New Guinea island is part of the Australian craton. In the West are Proterozoic metamorphics and granites, overlain by relatively undeformed Late Proterozoic and Paleozoic shallow marine and non-marine intra-cratonic sediments. The eastern part (in PNG) displays characteristics of the Eastern Australia Paleozoic active margin, with highly deformed early Paleozoic marine sediments and a belt of Permian- Triassic arc volcanics. The Birds Head of West Papua also displays this 'Tasmanides' active margin character (see below).

The Central Range is composed mainly of complexly folded marine Jurassic- Early Miocene passive margin sediments. A long belt of ophiolites and associated metamorphic rocks along the northern margin of the Central Range foldbelt marks the suture between the Australian continental margin to the South and Pacific domain volcanic arc and ophiolite complexes in the North. Its emplacement marks the Early(?) Miocene collision of the Australian continent with an Oligo-Miocene age Philippine Sea volcanic arc.

The Central Range also contains a belt of Late Miocene- Recent dioritic intrusives and volcanics, many of which are associated with large gold-copper mineralizations. Some authors interpreted these as the result of South-directed subduction of Pacific Ocean (Philippine Sea) oceanic plate, others dispute this.

VIII.1. New Guinea General and West Papua (Irian Jaya)

The most comprehensive publication on West Papua geology is still Visser & Hermes (1962), summarizing the geological results of 30 years of petroleum exploration by the NNGPM consortium. Another book is by Dow et al. (2005), mainly based on surface mapping work in the 1980's.

The Birds Head may or may not be a displaced terrane. Many authors show it as more or less in the same relative position as today since the Mesozoic (Hall, etc.), others advocate a position closer to the PNG side of New Guinea or Queensland until the Cretaceous, based on its Paleozoic 'active margin' character of intensely folded, low-metamorphic Silurian-Devonian marine sediments and Permian-Triassic granitoids.

A Late(?) Oligocene compression event in the Birds Head created an angular unconformity and deposition of Sirga Sandstone, the only sandy clastics in an Eocene- Miocene carbonate sequence. This was interpreted by Pigram & Davies (1987) and Struckmeyer et al. (1993) as evidence of timing of collision between the Birds Head and the Misool- Onin terrane.

The Central Range formed as a result of collision of the Australian-New Guinea continental margin with a volcanic arc, probably before the Middle Miocene, as metamorphic-ophiolitic detritus is found in sandstones of the Makats Fm North of the foldbelt. The  norhern margin of this range is a belt of obductucted ophiolites, overlying a metamorphic belt which are metamorphosed Jurasssic-Cretaceous deep marine distal continental margin clastics.

A second phase of uplift in the Plio-Pleistocene is apparent from the presence of outcrops of young dioritic intrusions at altitudes of 4000m. Several of these intrusives are associated with world-class porphyry copper-gold mineralizations (Ertsberg, Grasberg, etc.).

N-S x-section of W (highest) part of the Central Range, showing peaks up to 5000m elevation composed of  folded Eocene-Oligocene New Guinea Limestone, and the large exposed Ertsberg ('copper mountain') porphyry copper deposit at about 4000m. The lower areas are composed of Paleozoic- Mesozoic clastics and carbonates (Dozy, 1939).
N-S x-section of W (highest) part of the Central Range, showing peaks up to 5000m elevation composed of  folded Eocene-Oligocene New Guinea Limestone, and the large exposed Ertsberg ('copper mountain') porphyry copper deposit at about 4000m. The lower areas are composed of Paleozoic- Mesozoic clastics and carbonates (Dozy, 1939).

Commercial hydrocarbons have only been found in the Birds Head/ Bintuni basin. The two proven hydrocarbon plays are oil and gas in Miocene carbonate buildups and gas in M Jurassic sandstones. The successful basal Cretaceous sandstone play of adjacent Papua New Guinea has not yet been proven to extend into West Papua, although some oil seeps are present in the Central Range. Oil and gas seeps and non-commercial gas are present in the locally thick Late Miocene- Pleistocene successor basins of North New Guinea.

Suggested Reading New Guinea General- West Papua:
General, Tectonics

Visser & Hermes (1962), Hermes (1974), Pigram & Panggabean (1984), Pigram & Davies (1987), Pigram & Symonds (1991), Dow et al. (1988, 2005), Audley Charles (1991), Nash et al. (1993), Struckmeyer et al. (1993), Pubellier & Ego (2002), Stevens et al. (2002), Hill & Hall (2003), Hill et al. (2004), Sapiie & Cloos (2004), Cloos et al. (2005), Quarles van Ufford & Cloos (2005)


Pieters et al. (1983), Quarles van Ufford (1996)

North New Guinea

Zwierzycki (1924, 1928), Williams & Amiruddin (1983), Wachsmuth & Kunst (1986), Tregoning & Gorbatov (2004), Permana et al. (2005)

Mesozoic Birds Head- Bintuni:

Fraser et al (1993), Perkins & Livsey (1993), Ratman (1997), Decker et al. (2009), Sapiie (2010)
Lengguru Foldbelt: Dow et al. (1985), Brash et al. (1991), Moffatt et al. (1991), Sutriyono & Hill (2002), Bailly et al. (2009)

Ophiolites Metamorphics

Van der Wegen (1971), Weyland (1999), Monnier et al. (1999, 2000), Warren & Cloos (2007), Weiland & Cloos (2007)

Miocene- Recent Volcanism,Minerals

McMahon (1994a,b), Mertig et al. (1994), O'Connor et al. (1994), Housh & McMahon (2000), Paterson & Cloos (2005), Pollard et al. (2005), Prendergast et al. (2005).

VIII.2. Misool

The Misool Island group between the West Papua 'Birds Head' and Seram, is generally regarded as part of the Birds Head plate, although there are arguments to make it a separate microplate that collided with the Birds Head in Oligocene time (Pigram and Davies 1987).

Misool is part of a long, young anticlinal trend that continues E to the Onin Peninsula, which is commonly interpreted as the result of a latest Miocene- Early Pliocene inversion event of a Jurassic (or older) rift system.

N-S cross section across C Misool Island
N-S cross-section across N-dipping Triassic- Tertiary sediments of C Misool island (Roggeveen 1939 in Van Bemmelen, 1949)

Overall dip of Misool island is to the North, so the South coast and adjacent islands have good outcrops of Paleozoic metamorphics, unconformably overlain by a relatively thick Late Triassic marine 'flysch' and reefal Misolia limestone, unconformably overlain by a relatively thin Middle? Jurassic- Cretaceous marine sequence. The Late Jurassic- mid Cretaceous is in bathyal pelagic limestone facies. The overlying Turonian- Maastrichtian marls are rich in Inoceramus, but also contain radiolitid rudists (Durania spp.).

The Jurassic- Cretaceous of Misool is locally rich in macrofossils (mainly molluscs and belemnites), which have lead to numerous classic paleontology studies (between 1901-1939 mainly German academics: Boehm, Krumbeck, Von Seidlitz, Soergel, Stolley, Wandel, Vogler, etc.; more recently Challinor, Westermann, Hasibuan, etc.).

It should be noted that the Paleozoic-Mesozoic stratigraphy of Misool is different from that of the Birds Head, Bintuni and the main 'body' of New Guinea, although this may possibly be explained by assuming a contiguous but more distal marine setting for Misool. Misool has no equivalent of the Permian coaly series or the Jurassic- Cretaceous shallow marine sands known from the Birds Head, Bintuni, Central Range, etc. It does have Late Triassic reefal limestones, rudist-bearing Upper Cretaceous, etc., which are absent elsewhere in New Guinea (except in the probably displaced Kubor Terrane in PNG).

The Misool surface geology map clearly shows a mid-Oligocene unconformity: Miocene carbonates thin West-ward from over 1300m to 100m and overlap successively older rocks, suggesting an Oligocene uplift event, most pronounced in the West.

Suggested Reading Misool:

Boehm (1924), Froidevaux (1974), Skwarko (1981), Pigram et al. (1982, a,b), Hasibuan (2008, 2009 and others), Pairault et al.(2003)

VIII.3. Arafura Shelf

The Arafura Sea straddles Indonesian and Australian parts of the NW Shelf- W Papua continental margin. The geology of the area is relatively poorly known.

Recent deep seismic data shows the presence of a very thick Precambrian sediment section below much of the Arafura Sea, a continuation of the MacArthur and other Precambrian basins of North Australia. In most of the area these old rocks are unconformably overlain by thin, undeformed Cretaceous- Tertiary sediments.

There is thickening of post-Precambrian sediments in three different areas and times. The NW-SE trending Goulburn Graben in the Australian sector of the Arafura Sea preserves a relatively thick Paleozoic section. This rift system was inverted in the Triassic and significantly eroded after that. No equivalent system is known from the indonesian sector, except perhaps the thick Paleozoic section outcropping immediately South of the West Papua onshore Central Range foldbelt.

Jurassic-Cretaceous sediments thicken towards the present-day continental margin in the West, in the direction of the Banda Sea. Significant thickening of Oligocene and younger sediments is observed to the North, towards the South coast of West Papua, reflecting increased subsidence in the foredeep of the New Guinea Central Range foldbelt.

The Aru Islands appear to be part of a broad arch of upwarped Neogene shelf deposits, parallel to adjacent trench, and may represent part of a young, discontinuous 'forebulge' on the downgoing Australian passive margin plate.

Suggested Reading Arafura Shelf:

Katili (1986), Bradshaw et al. (1990), Dinkelman et al. (2011)

IX.11., IX.12., IX.13., Papua New Guinea

Although not Indonesian territory, the geology of Papua New Guinea is a continuation of that of West Papua, and of interest for the understanding of the larger region. The reference list with over 600 titles is included here.

The PNG foldbelt is generally lower in elevation than the W Papua part. It is underlain by weaker, Paleozoic accretionary crust, in contrast with the West Papua relatively rigid continental crust (Hill & Hall, 2003).

Significant oil and gas accumulations were found in folded Late Jurassic- Early Cretaceous quartz sands in the PNG foldbelt. So far, this play has not been successful in the West Papua Central Range (but was proven in the Birds Head/ Bintuni Bay)

Suggested Reading Papua-New Guinea:
General, Tectonics

Glaessner (1950), Davies & Smith (1971), Davies (1978, 1990), Davies et al. (1997), Milsom (1974, 1991), Dow (1977), Hill (1987, 1991), Hill & Hall (2003), Pigram et al. (1989, 1990), Klootwijk et al. (2003)

Last Updated - September, 2016 | ©2011