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  • Seismic reflection mapping, geochemical analyses and petroleum systems modelling have increased our understanding of the highly prospective Mesoproterozoic and Paleoproterozoic source rocks across northern Australia, expanding the repertoire of exploration targets currently being exploited in Proterozoic petroleum systems. Data collected during the Exploring for the Future program have enabled us to redefine and increase the extent of regional petroleum systems, which will encourage additional interest and exploration activity in frontier regions. Here, we present a review of the Paleoproterozoic McArthur and Mesoproterozoic Urapungan petroleum supersystems, and the most up-to-date interpretation of burial and thermal history modelling in the greater McArthur Basin (including the Beetaloo Sub-basin), South Nicholson Basin and Isa Superbasin. We also present potential direct hydrocarbon indicators imaged in the 2017 South Nicholson Deep Crustal Seismic Survey that increase the attractiveness of this frontier region for hydrocarbon exploration activities. <b>Citation:</b> MacFarlane, S.K., Jarrett, A.J.M., Hall, L.S., Edwards, D., Palu, T.J., Close, D., Troup, A. and Henson, P., 2020. A regional perspective of the Paleo- and Mesoproterozoic petroleum systems of northern Australia. In: Czarnota, K., Roach, I., Abbott, S., Haynes, M., Kositcin, N., Ray, A. and Slatter, E. (eds.) Exploring for the Future: Extended Abstracts, Geoscience Australia, Canberra, 1–4.

  • This Record presents 40Ar/39Ar chronologic results acquired in support of collaborative regional geoscientific investigations and mapping programs conducted by Geoscience Australia (GA) and the Northern Territory Geological Survey (NTGS). Argon isotopic data and interpretations from hornblende, muscovite, and biotite from seven samples collected from the Aileron Province in ALCOOTA , HUCKITTA, HALE RIVER, and ILLOGWA CREEK in the Northern Territory are presented herein. The results complement pre-existing geochronological constraints from U–Pb zircon and monazite analyses of the same or related samples, and provide new constraints on the thermal and deformation history of the Aileron Province. Three samples (2003082017, 2003082021, 2003083040) were taken from ALCOOTA in the northeastern portion of the Aileron Province. Biotite in sample 2003082017 from the ca 1.81 Ga Crooked Hole Granite records cooling below 320–280°C at 441 ± 5 Ma. Biotite in sample 2003082021 from the ca 1.73 Ga Jamaica Granite records cooling below 320–280°C at or after 414 ± 2 Ma. Muscovite in sample 2003083040 from the Delny Metamorphics, which were deposited after ca 1.82 Ga and preserve evidence for metamorphism at ca 1.72 Ga and 1.69 Ga, records cooling below 430–390°C at 399 ± 2 Ma. The fabrics preserved in the samples from the Crooked Hole Granite and Delny Metamorphics are interpreted to have formed due to dynamic metamorphism related to movement on the Waite River Shear Zone, an extension of the Delny Shear Zone, during the Palaeoproterozoic. Portions of the northeastern Aileron Province are unconformably overlain by the Neoproterozoic–Cambrian Georgina Basin, indicating these samples were likely at or near the surface by the Neoproterozoic. Together, these data indicate that rocks of the Aileron Province in ALCOOTA were subjected to heating above ~400°C during the Palaeozoic. Two samples (2003087859K, 2003087862F) of exoskarn from an indeterminate unit were taken from drillhole MDDH4 in the Molyhil tungsten–molybdenum deposit in central HUCKITTA. The rocks hosting the Molyhil tungsten–molybdenum deposit are interpreted as ca 1.79 Ga Deep Bore Metamorphics and ca 1.80 Ga Yam Gneiss. They experienced long-lived metamorphism during the Palaeoproterozoic, with supersolidus metamorphism observed until at least ca 1.72 Ga. Hornblende from sample 2003087859K indicates cooling below 520–480°C by 1702 ± 5 Ma and may closely approximate timing of skarn-related mineralisation at the Molyhil deposit; hornblende from sample 2003087862F records a phase of fluid flow at the Molyhil deposit at 1660 ± 4 Ma. The Salthole Gneiss has a granitic protolith that was emplaced at ca 1.79 Ga, and experienced alteration at ca 1.77 Ga. Muscovite from sample 2010080001 of Salthole Gneiss from the Illogwa Shear Zone in ILLOGWA CREEK records cooling of the sample below ~430–390°C at 327 ± 2 Ma. This may reflect the timing of movement of, or fluid flux along, the Illogwa Shear Zone. An unnamed quartzite in the Casey Inlier in HALE RIVER has a zircon U–Pb maximum depositional age of ca 1.24 Ga. Muscovite from sample HA05IRS071 of this unnamed quartzite yields an age of 1072 ± 8 Ma, which likely approximates, or closely post-dates, the timing of deformation in this sample; it provides the first direct evidence for a Mesoproterozoic episode of deformation in this part of the Aileron Province.

  • The Great Artesian Basin Research Priorities Workshop, organised by Geoscience Australia (GA), was held in Canberra on 27 and 28 April 2016. Workshop attendees represented a spectrum of stakeholders including government, policy, management, scientific and technical representatives interested in GAB-related water management. This workshop was aimed at identifying and documenting key science issues and strategies to fill hydrogeological knowledge gaps that will assist federal and state/territory governments in addressing groundwater management issues within the GAB, such as influencing the development of the next Strategic Management Plan for the GAB. This report summarises the findings out of the workshop.

  • This report provides a description of the activities completed during the Bynoe Harbour Marine Survey, from 3 May and 17 May 2016 on the RV Solander (Survey GA4452/SOL6432). This survey was a collaboration between Geoscience Australia (GA), the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and Department of Land Resource Management (Northern Territory Government) and the second of four surveys in the Darwin Harbour Seabed Habitat Mapping Program. This 4 year program (2014-2018) aims to improve knowledge of the marine environments in the Darwin and Bynoe Harbour regions by collating and collecting baseline information and developing thematic habitat maps that will underpin future marine resource management decisions. The program was made possible through funds provided by the INPEX-led Ichthys LNG Project to Northern Territory Government Department of Land Resource Management, and co-investment from Geoscience Australia and Australian Institute of Marine Science. The specific objectives of the Bynoe Harbour Marine Survey GA4452/SOL6432 were to: 1. Obtain high resolution geophysical (bathymetry) data for the deeper areas of Bynoe Harbour (<5 m), including Port Patterson; and, 2. Characterise substrates (acoustic backscatter properties, sub-bottom profiles, grainsize, sediment chemistry) the deeper areas of Bynoe Harbour (<5 m), including Port Patterson. Data acquired during the survey included: 698 km2 multibeam sonar bathymetry, water column and backscatter; 102 Smith-McIntyre grabs, 104 underwater camera drops, 29 sub-bottom profile lines and 34 sound velocity profiles.

  • To meet the increasing demand for natural resources globally, industry faces the challenge of exploring new frontier areas that lie deeper undercover. Here, we present an approach to, and initial results of, modelling the depth of four key chronostratigraphic packages that obscure or host mineral, energy and groundwater resources. Our models are underpinned by the compilation and integration of ~200 000 estimates of the depth of these interfaces. Estimates are derived from interpretations of newly acquired airborne electromagnetic and seismic reflection data, along with boreholes, surface and solid geology, and depth to magnetic source investigations. Our curated estimates are stored in a consistent subsurface data repository. We use interpolation and machine learning algorithms to predict the distribution of these four packages away from the control points. Specifically, we focus on modelling the distribution of the base of Cenozoic-, Mesozoic-, Paleozoic- and Neoproterozoic-age stratigraphic units across an area of ~1.5 million km2 spanning the Queensland and Northern Territory border. Our repeatable and updatable approach to mapping these surfaces, together with the underlying datasets and resulting models, provides a semi-national geometric framework for resource assessment and exploration. <b>Citation:</b> Bonnardot, M.-A., Wilford, J., Rollet, N., Moushall, B., Czarnota, K., Wong, S.C.T. and Nicoll, M.G., 2020. Mapping the cover in northern Australia: towards a unified national 3D geological model. In: Czarnota, K., Roach, I., Abbott, S., Haynes, M., Kositcin, N., Ray, A. and Slatter, E. (eds.) Exploring for the Future: Extended Abstracts, Geoscience Australia, Canberra, 1–4.

  • A SkyTEM airborne electromagnetic (AEM) survey was flown during the period 09 to 24 August 2017 in the Daly River Region, Northern Territory, Australia. The area is located in the 1:250000 map sheets, SD52-08 (Pine Creek), SD52-12 (Fergusson River), SD52-16 (Delamere), SD53-09 (Katherine) and SD53-13 (Larrimah) south-southeast of the city of Darwin. Approximately 3379 line kilometres of TEM and magnetic data were acquired. The projected grid coordinates have been supplied in GDA94 MGA Zone 52. The aim of the survey is to provide geophysical information to support investigations of the regional groundwater system, identify regional groundwater sources and mitigate risk in irrigation development. It will provide data to allow for the modelling of the following at a reconnaissance scale: a) trends in regolith thickness and variability b) variations in bedrock conductivity c) conductivity of key bedrock (lithology related) conductive units under cover d) the groundwater resource potential of the region

  • This report is the second of three reports that provide the scientific analyses and interpretations resulting from a four-year collaborative habitat mapping program undertaken within the Darwin and Bynoe Harbour region by Geoscience Australia (GA), the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) and the Northern Territory Government Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR). This program was made possible through offset funds provided by the INPEX-operated Ichthys LNG Project to DENR, and co-investments from GA and AIMS.

  • Building on newly acquired airborne electromagnetic and seismic reflection data during the Exploring for the Future (EFTF) program, Geoscience Australia (GA) generated a cover model across the Northern Territory and Queensland, in the Tennant Creek – Mount Isa (TISA) area (Figure 1; between 13.5 and 24.5⁰ S of latitude and 131.5 and 145⁰ E of longitude) (Bonnardot et al., 2020). The cover model provides depth estimates to chronostratigraphic layers, including: Base Cenozoic, Base Mesozoic, Base Paleozoic and Base Neoproterozoic. The depth estimates are based on the interpretation, compilation and integration of borehole, solid geology, reflection seismic, and airborne electromagnetic data, as well as depth to magnetic source estimates. These depth estimates in metres below the surface (relative to the Australian Height Datum) are consistently stored as points in the Estimates of Geophysical and Geological Surfaces (EGGS) database (Matthews et al., 2020). The data points compiled in this data package were extracted from the EGGS database. Preferred depth estimates were selected to ensure regional data consistency and aid the gridding. Two sets of cover depth surfaces (Bonnardot et al., 2020) were generated using different approaches to map megasequence boundaries associated with the Era unconformities: 1) Standard interpolation using a minimum-curvature gridding algorithm that provides minimum misfit where data points exist, and 2) Machine learning approach (Uncover-ML, Wilford et al., 2020) that allows to learn about relationships between datasets and therefore can provide better depth estimates in areas of sparse data points distribution and assess uncertainties. This data package includes the depth estimates data points compiled and used for gridding each surface, for the Base Cenozoic, Base Mesozoic, Base Paleozoic and Base Neoproterozoic (Figure 1). To provide indicative trends between the depth data points, regional interpolated depth surface grids are also provided for the Base Cenozoic, Base Mesozoic, Base Paleozoic and Base Neoproterozoic. The grids were generated with a standard interpolation algorithm, i.e. minimum-curvature interpolation method. Refined gridding method will be necessary to take into account uncertainties between the various datasets and variable distances between the points. These surfaces provide a framework to assess the depth and possible spatial extent of resources, including basin-hosted mineral resources, basement-hosted mineral resources, hydrocarbons and groundwater, as well as an input to economic models of the viability of potential resource development.

  • <p>The Mesoproterozoic South Nicholson Basin (SNB) in northern Australia extends across an area approximately the size of Tasmania. It is flanked by the resource rich Mt Isa Orogen and McArthur Basin. Limited outcrop and a dearth of drilling has hampered understanding of the evolution of the Basin, its relationship to other tectonic elements in northern Australia and its resource potential. The lack of any identified interbedded volcanic rocks within the studied sections has led us to concentrate on an extensive SHRIMP U-Pb detrital zircon geochronology program that so far exceeds 40 samples. In addition, we have undertaken SHRIMP U-Pb geochronology of authigenic xenotime. <p>Detrital zircon U–Pb maximum depositional ages (MDA) for the South Nicholson Group (SNG) are up to 100 My younger than previously reported [1]. The new MDA for the Constance Sandstone is ~1470 Ma and is the youngest so far recorded in the SNB. Additionally, it accords with an MDA for the underlying Crow Formation of ~1483 Ma. SHRIMP U–Pb xenotime analyses of authigenic overgrowths on detrital zircons from the Constance Sandstone gave an age of ~1266 Ma. This new data brackets the deposition of the SNG to between 1470 Ma and ~1266 Ma and provides the first evidence that the SNG is broadly contemporaneous with the 1500–1320 Ma Roper Group of the McArthur Basin. Using Multidimensional Scaling of the detrital age distributions has also added an extra dimension to our evolving understanding of the development of the SNB. <p>[1] Carson (2011) Queensland Geological Record 2011/03.

  • This package contains presentations given during NT Resources week, at the Uncovering East Tennant workshop held in Darwin on September 3, 2019, and Mining the Territory, September 5, 2019. The presentation given by Andrew Heap at the Mining the Territory forum is a high level overview of the data collection and activities of GA and it's collaborative partners across Northern Australia in conjunction with the Exploring for the Future (EFTF) program. The workshop, held in collaboration with the Northern Territory Geological Survey, outlined new mineral exploration opportunities in the East Tennant area, which lies beneath the Barkly Tableland and extends approximately 250 km east of Tennant Creek. The East Tennant area has been the focus of geochemical, geological and geophysical data acquisition as part of Geoscience Australia's Exploring for the Future program. This free event showcased new science insights for the East Tennant area and how this under-explored region has opportunities for greenfield mineral discoveries.