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  • This report presents a summary of the groundwater and surface water hydrochemistry data release from the Daly River project conducted as part of Exploring for the Future (EFTF)—an eight year, $225 million Australian Government funded geoscience data and information acquisition program focused on better understanding the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources across Australia. This data release records the groundwater sample collection methods and hydrochemistry and isotope data from monitoring bores in the Daly River project area, Northern Territory (NT). The Daly River project is a collaborative study between Geoscience Australia and the NT Government. Hydrochemistry and isotope data were collected from existing bores in the Daly River area. The sampling methods, quality assurance/quality control procedures, analytical methods and results are included in this report and all hydrochemistry data are available for download from the link at right.

  • This report presents a summary of the groundwater and surface water hydrochemistry data release from the Howard East project conducted as part of Exploring for the Future (EFTF) —an eight year, $225 million Australian Government funded geoscience data and information acquisition program focused on better understanding the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources across Australia. This data release records the groundwater and surface water sample collection methods and hydrochemistry and isotope data from monitoring bores in the Howard East project area, Northern Territory (NT). The Howard East project is a collaborative study between Geoscience Australia and the NT Government. Hydrochemistry and isotope data were collected from existing bores in the Howard East area. The sampling methods, quality assurance/quality control procedures, analytical methods and results are included in this report and all hydrochemistry data are available for download from the link at right.

  • The Upper Burdekin Chloride Mass Balance Recharge web service depicts the recharge rates have been estimated at borehole locations in the Nulla and McBride basalt provinces. Using rainfall rates, rainfall chemistry and groundwater chemistry, the recharge rates have been estimated through the Chloride Mass Balance approach.

  • This report presents key results from the Daly River groundwater project conducted as part of Exploring for the Future (EFTF), an Australian Government funded geoscience data and information acquisition program. The four-year (2016-20) program focused on better understanding the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources in northern Australia. In this investigation we use models of sub-surface bulk electrical conductivity within the geological Daly Basin to model the depth of the interface between the Jinduckin Formation and the overlying Oolloo Dolostone. The Olloo dolostone is the most extracted aquifer in the Daly basin, while the Jinduckin Formation is an aquitard separating the Olloo from the lower Tindall Limestone aquifer. Airborne electromagnetic (AEM) data acquired across the basin were inverted with both deterministic and stochastic methods to generate a suite of bulk electrical conductivity models. Comparison with boreholes suggested that the Jinduckin Formation is significantly more conductive than the Oolloo Dolostone and this interface is well resolved in these AEM conductivity models. We developed an interactive plot for visualising the probability distribution of bulk conductivities for AEM points inverted with the stochastic inversion routine. We interpreted 389 AEM points using this approach and used interpolation to derive a new stratigraphic Olloo—Jinduckin surface. The new surface is generally deeper than current models of the interface, which were derived by interpolating stratigraphic picks from boreholes. In the data-sparse south-west of the Daly Basin the new geological surface is up to 390 m deeper than what is currently mapped. This new interface can be used to better constrain aquifer architecture in groundwater flow modelling and support groundwater management of this region. The method developed for interpreting stratigraphy directly from the posterior probability distribution of electrical conductivity is applicable for other geophysical interpretation tasks.

  • Exploring for the Future (EFTF) is an eight year, $225 million Australian Government funded program which commenced in 2016. The program is delivering new geoscience data, knowledge and decision support tools to support increased industry investment and sustainable economic development across Australia. Further detail is available at http://www.ga.gov.au/eftf. The program’s objective over the four years from 2016-2020 was to provide a holistic picture of the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources in northern Australia. Groundwater is a critical resource that accounts for most water used across northern Australia. The groundwater component of the EFTF program focused on addressing groundwater resource knowledge gaps, to support future opportunities for economic development via irrigated agriculture, extractive industries and increased security of community water supplies. Through collaboration with State and Territory partners, the program undertook targeted regional investigations of groundwater systems and assessments of groundwater potential more broadly across the region. The program's activities, implemented by Geoscience Australia, involved application of innovative geoscience tools to collect, integrate and analyse a range of data. It includes geological and hydrogeological data, airborne and ground-based geophysical and hydrogeochemical surveys, remote sensing data as well as stratigraphic drilling. The new data and better understanding of groundwater systems also helps inform decision making about groundwater use to protect environmental and cultural assets. These outcomes strengthen investor confidence in resources and agricultural projects by de-risking groundwater in northern Australia. Surface nuclear magnetic resonance (SNMR) is an electrical, geophysical technique that was adapted from magnetic resonance imaging techniques used in the medical field. This technique is gaining prominence in groundwater studies as it can be used to detect the presence of water and estimate hydraulic properties in the top 100m of subsurface. SNMR data can be acquired rapidly, cheaply and non-invasively. This is advantageous in Australian groundwater studies where drilling is often expensive and logistically challenging due to land access issues and environmental regulations. For the reasons described above SNMR has been one of the most important groundwater datasets acquired as part of the EFTF program. The derived estimates of water content have been used for several applications including; estimating hydraulic conductivity, mapping the water table surface, and defining aquifer architecture. The purpose of this document is to provide a description of the SNMR method and how the data are acquired, processed and inverted as part of the EFTF program.

  • The Exploring for the Future program is an initiative by the Australian Government dedicated to boosting investment in resource exploration in Australia. The initial phase of this program led by Geoscience Australia focussed on northern Australia to gather new data and information about the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources concealed beneath the surface. The northern Lawn Hill Platform is an intracratonic poly-phased history region of Paleoproterozoic to Mesoproterozic age consisting of mixed carbonates, siliciclastics and volcanics. It is considered a frontier basin with very little petroleum exploration to date, but with renewed interest in shale and tight gas, that may present new exploration opportunities. An understanding of the geochemistry of the sedimentary units, including the organic richness, hydrocarbon-generating potential and thermal maturity, is therefore an important characteristic needed to understand the resource potential of the region. As part of this program, Rock-Eval pyrolysis analyses were undertaken by Geoscience Australia on selected rock samples from 2 wells of the northern Lawn Hill Platform.

  • Exploring for the Future is a four-year $100.5 million programme to unveil new resource opportunities in Northern Australia and parts of South Australia. It is being conducted by Geoscience Australia in partnership with state and Northern Territory government agencies, CSIRO, and universities. This initiative, which is due for completion in 2020–2021, has started to deliver a suite of new products to help unveil new resource opportunities in Northern Australia. The programme has three inter-related elements: minerals, energy and groundwater, which collectively aims to: • provide baseline pre-competitive geoscience data to inform and encourage government, industry and community decision making about sustainable resources management to improve Northern Australia’s economic development • attract investment in resource exploration to Northern Australia • deliver an assessment of groundwater resources for irrigated agriculture and community water supplies as well as for mineral and energy development; and an assessment of the potential impacts of those developments. The minerals-focussed projects have been designed with a three-fold programme logic (Figure 1): 1) Northern Australia-wide projects, 2) focussed integrated studies, and 3) generic innovation and method development. The minerals-focussed project activities address a number of the highest and high priority themes identified by the mineral exploration industry in the UNCOVER Roadmap. 1) Northern Australia-wide projects This work programme will develop and use innovative tools and techniques to collect semi-continental a) geological, b) geochemical, and c) geophysical data on an unprecedented scale. The commencement of these projects is focussed on the region between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa (TISA). a) Geological projects Because one person’s cover is another person’s basement, a Northern Australia-wide series of time-based geological maps are being prepared. Building from the national 1:1 M scale Surface Geology Map of Australia, the Cenozoic, Mesozoic, Palaeozoic and Neoproterozoic layers will be successively removed to reveal a series of ‘solid geology’ maps at 1:1M scale. These maps will form the basis for subsequent 3D models and resource assessments. Extensive use is being made of national-scale potential field geophysical data and existing drillhole data. This has the combined effect of calibrating the geological interpretation of the geophysics with known rocks and attributing the interfaces with their actual depth (from drilling or geophysical estimates). Resultant 3D data are being stored in a new database called Estimates of Geological and Geophysical Surfaces (EGGS); this is a national repository for depth-determined geological information from any method (drilling or geophysical estimate). The EGGS’ database will form the depth-control points from which new 3D surfaces will be constructed and imported into a 3D geological model along with uncertainty. A new peak metamorphic map of Australia is also in production, with a subset available for Northern Australia in the first phase. This map is a compilation of quantitative and qualitative estimates of metamorphic conditions across Australia. The maps will provide important constraints on the crustal exhumation and (mineral) preservation history as well as thermo-barometric evolution of Australia. b) Geochemical projects An atlas of the surface of Northern Australia, as a subset of the national atlas, is in preparation. Geoscience Australia has time-series LANDSAT data from NASA extending back into the 1980s. Each pixel from each scene has been organised in Digital Earth Australia (DEA) so the archive can be ‘data-mined’ to extract pixels with the least vegetation and cloud-cover effects. Products of this work will be a new national Bare Earth image along with iron oxide, silica and clay mineral maps of the surface at 25 m resolution. The European Space Agency’s Sentinel 2 satellite system provides global coverage of multispectral earth-observation data at 10 m resolution from these data. A new cloud-free seamless Sentinel 2 national map will be produced at 10 m resolution. A suite of new machine learning codes has been produced in collaboration with DATA61. These codes are being deployed on the national whole rock and surface geochemical datasets to produce national surface maps of the major elements. An isotopic atlas for northern Australia is being prepared, consisting of a suite of map layers including Sm–Nd, Lu–Hf, U–Pb, Ar–Ar and Pb–Pb; it will be delivered in GIS form, and draped on the aforementioned 3D surfaces. In addition, selected age dating of geological units through U–Pb SHRIMP geochronology and various other dating techniques for direct dating of key mineral deposits are being undertaken. c) Geophysical projects The world’s largest airborne electromagnetic (AusAEM) survey and the most extensive long-period magnetotelluric (AusLAMP) survey are well underway. At the time of writing (February 2018), 20 600 line-km of the 60,000 planned AusAEM data have been flown and 155 new AusLAMP stations have been acquired. In addition, a new seismic tomographic velocity model will be constructed from historical earthquake data; these data form the basis of the Australia-wide AusARRAY project. Gravity data are being infilled at higher resolutions in areas where station spacing is >4 km using a mix of ground and airborne gravity and airborne gravity gradiometry. 2) Focused Integrated Studies (TISA) The region between Tennant Creek and Mt Isa (TISA) is the initial focus of all the above-mentioned activities plus a series of additional projects. This vast under cover region lies between the great mining centres of Tennant Creek (Cu, Au) and Mt Isa (Cu, Pb, Zn, Ag). The thickness of cover is variable and the underlying ‘basement’ geology is poorly known. The region lies at a key junction in Australian geology, with north-south striking domains in the east joining east-west and northwest-southeast striking domains in the west. The region showed unexplained base metal anomalism in the National Geochemical Survey of Australia (NGSA) and at depth, it has variable seismic velocity and Moho depths. The programme has collected 782 surface geochemical and 118 groundwater samples to augment the broad-spaced NGSA dataset; laboratory results are being modelled with the first products due for release in March 2018. The AusARRAY project deployed 120 passive seismic recorders that will remain in the TISA region until later this year. Two more deployments are expected in the life of the programme at locations to be confirmed. A total of 2724 ground gravity stations were collected; the data was released in 2017. A total of 1100 km of deep seismic reflection data have been acquired and processed (see Henson this volume), with processed data to be released in March 2018, and interpretation products to follow. The aim of focusing the activities into one region is to provide the best possible suite of data that will be integrated into an assessment of the undercover mineral potential of the TISA region. This assessment and the geological and mineral systems interpretations of the above data will be tested by a stratigraphic drilling programme in 2019. Assessments are underway for basin-hosted base metals (Cu, Pb, Zn) and for iron-oxide-copper-gold mineral systems. The basin assessment will draw on well-established petroleum systems approaches and apply them to these mineral systems. When the programme is complete, the TISA region will arguably be the best imaged and understood piece of lithosphere on the planet. 3) Innovation and Method Development To complement data acquisition, new big data management and data analytical methods, tools and platforms are being developed to maximise data value. Strategic collaborations have been established with world-leading experts at Australian universities and DATA61 to develop a suite of new geoscience-relevant computer codes and products that will be released in open source repositories (GitHub) and be incorporated into the Australian National Virtual Geophysical Laboratory (ANVGL). Given the vast range of activities being conducted, many of which are novel, effort is being made to share the generic lessons. This includes publishing software codes and standard operating procedures as well as developing an Explorer’s Guide for the TISA region that will have generic applicability elsewhere. Particular effort is being made to transfer knowledge and receive feedback from industry through a series of workshops that commenced in 2017. Conclusions Exploring for the Future, an exciting initiative in collaboration with state and NT partners, will: • Assist in securing an ongoing pipeline of new discoveries and help maintain Australia’s position as a major global mineral and energy exporter. • Determine the location, quantity and quality of groundwater resources to inform water management options, including infrastructure development and water banking. • Benefit the Mining Equipment, Technology and Services (METS) sector by drawing on private sector expertise in undertaking data acquisition and analysis.

  • The Source Rock and Fluids Atlas delivery and publication services provide up-to-date information on petroleum (organic) geochemical and geological data from Geoscience Australia's Organic Geochemistry Database (ORGCHEM). The sample data provides the spatial distribution of petroleum source rocks and their derived fluids (natural gas and crude oil) from boreholes and field sites in onshore and offshore Australian basins. The services provide characterisation of source rocks through the visualisation of Pyrolysis, Organic Petrology (Maceral Groups, Maceral Reflectance) and Organoclast Maturity data. The services also provide molecular and isotopic characterisation of source rocks and petroleum through the visualisation of Bulk, Whole Oil GC, Gas, Compound-Specific Isotopic Analyses (CSIA) and Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry (GCMS) data tables. Interpretation of these data enables the characterisation of petroleum source rocks and identification of their derived petroleum fluids that comprise two key elements of petroleum systems analysis. The composition of petroleum determines whether or not it can be an economic commodity and if other processes (e.g. CO2 removal and sequestration; cryogenic liquefaction of LNG) are required for development.

  • Improvements in discovery and management of minerals, energy and groundwater resources are spurred along by advancements in surface and subsurface imaging of the Earth. Over the last half decade Australia has led the world in the collection of regionally extensive airborne electromagnetic (AEM) data coverage, which provides new constraints on subsurface conductivity structure. Inferring geology and hydrology from conductivity is non-trivial as the conductivity response of earth materials is non-unique, but careful calibration and interpretation does provide significant insights into the subsurface. To date utility of this new data is limited by its spatial extent. The AusAEM survey provides conductivity constraints every 12.5 m along flight lines with no constraints across vast areas between flight lines spaced 20 km apart. Here we provide a means to infer the conductivity between flight lines as an interim measure before infill surveys can be undertaken. We use a gradient boosted tree machine learning algorithm to discover relationships between AEM conductivity models across northern Australia and other national data coverages for three depth ranges: 0–0.5 m, 9–11 m and 22–27 m. The predictive power of our models decreases with depth but they are nevertheless consistent with our knowledge of geological, landscape evolution and climatic processes and an improvement on standard interpolation methods such as kriging. Our models provide a novel complementary methodology to gridding/interpolating from AEM conductivity alone for use by the mining, energy and natural resource management sectors. <b>Citation: </b>Wilford J., Ley-Cooper Y., Basak S., & Czarnota K., 2022. High resolution conductivity mapping using regional AEM survey and machine learning. In: Czarnota, K. (ed.) Exploring for the Future: Extended Abstracts, Geoscience Australia, Canberra, https://dx.doi.org/10.26186/146380.

  • This web service shows the spatial locations of potential CO2 storage sites that are at an advanced stage of characterisation and/or development. The areas considered to be at an advanced stage are parts of the Cooper Basin in central Australia, a portion of the Surat Basin (Queensland), the offshore Gippsland Basin (Victoria), where the CarbonNet Project is currently at an advanced stage of development and the Petrel Sub-basin. This service will be presented in the AusH2 Portal.