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  • This report presents key results from the Upper Burdekin Groundwater Project conducted as part of Exploring for the Future (EFTF)—an eight year Australian Government funded geoscience data and information acquisition program. The first four years of the Program (2016–20) aimed to better understand the potential mineral, energy and groundwater resources in northern Australia. The Upper Burdekin Groundwater Project focused on the McBride Basalt Province (MBP) and Nulla Basalt Province (NBP) in the Upper Burdekin region of North Queensland. It was undertaken as a collaborative study between Geoscience Australia and the Queensland Government. This document reports the key findings of the project, as a synthesis of the hydrogeological investigation project and includes maps and figures to display the results.

  • This data release contains accurate positional data for groundwater boreholes in terms of horizontal location as well as elevation of the top of casing protectors. Twenty-four boreholes located in the Nulla and McBride basalt provinces have had DGPS survey results compiled and are presented. Using 95% confidence intervals, the horizontal uncertainties are less than 1.2m and vertical uncertainties less than 0.9m. These results are a substantial improvement, particularly on the uncertainty of elevations, and as such allow water levels need to be compared between bores on a comparable datum, to enable a regional hydrogeological understanding. Quantifying the uncertainties in elevation data adds robustness to the analysis of water levels across the region rather than detracting from it.

  • This data release presents regional scale groundwater contours developed for the Upper Burdekin Groundwater Project in North Queensland, 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. The Upper Burdekin Groundwater Project is a collaborative study between Geoscience Australia and the Queensland Government. It focuses on basalt groundwater resources in two geographically separate areas: the Nulla Basalt Province (NBP) in the south and the McBride Basalt Province (MBP) in the north. This data release includes separate, regional-scale groundwater contour datasets for the Nulla and McBride basalt provinces developed by Geoscience Australia in: Cook, S. B. & Ransley, T. R., 2020. Exploring for the Future—Groundwater level interpretations for the McBride and Nulla basalt provinces: Upper Burdekin region, North Queensland. Geoscience Australia, Canberra, http://pid.geoscience.gov.au/dataset/ga/135439. As detailed in that document, the groundwater contours were drawn by hand based on: - Groundwater levels from monitoring bores measured mostly on 17 February 2019 following extensive rainfall. - Surface topography. - Surface water features (rivers and springs). - Remote sensing data. The inferred groundwater contours were used in various Upper Burdekin Groundwater Project components to frame hydrogeological discussions. It is important to note that they were drawn following a wet period; groundwater contours are temporally variable and those presented in this data release therefore only represent part of the regional groundwater flow system.

  • The Upper Burdekin Basalt extents web service delivers province extents, detailed geology, spring locations and inferred regional groundwater contours for the formations of the Nulla and McBride Basalts. This work has been carried out as part of Geoscience Australia's Exploring for the Future program.

  • The Upper Burdekin Basalt extents web service delivers province extents, detailed geology, spring locations and inferred regional groundwater contours for the formations of the Nulla and McBride Basalts. This work has been carried out as part of Geoscience Australia's Exploring for the Future program.

  • Groundwater-dependent ecosystems (GDEs) rely on access to groundwater on a permanent or intermittent basis for some or all of their water requirements (Queensland Government, 2018). Remotely sensed data from Digital Earth Australia (DEA) (Geoscience Australia, 2018) were used to map potential aquatic and other GDEs and enhance understanding of surface water – groundwater interactions in the Upper Burdekin region. Two Landsat TM satellite products (Water Observations from Space (WOfS; Mueller et al. 2016) summary statistic and Tasselled Cap Index (TCI) wetness summary)) were used to investigate the persistence of surface water and soil moisture in the landscape to identify perennial streams, springs and other parts of the landscape that may rely on groundwater discharge. The WOfS summary statistic represents, for each pixel, the percentage of time that water is detected at the surface relative to the total number of clear observations. Due to the 25-m by 25-m pixel size of Landsat data, only features at least 25 m wide are detected and only features covering multiple pixels are consistently detected. The WOfS summary statistic was produced over the McBride and Nulla Basalt provinces for the entire period of available data (1987 to 2018). Pixels were polygonised and classified in order to visually enhance key data in the imagery, such as the identification of standing water for at least 80% of the time. The TCI is a method of reducing six surface reflectance bands of satellite data to three bands (Brightness, Greenness, Wetness) using a Principal Components Analysis (PCA) and Procrustes' Rotation (Roberts et al., 2018). The published coefficients of Crist (1985) are applied to DEA's Landsat data to generate a TCI composite. The resulting Tasselled Cap bands are a linear combination of the original surface reflectance bands that correlate with the Brightness (bare earth), Greenness and Wetness of the landscape. The TCI wetness summary (or Tasselled Cap Wetness (TCW) percentage exceedance composite), derived from the Wetness band, represents the behaviour of water in the landscape, as defined by the presence of water, moist soil or wet vegetation at each pixel through time. The summary shows the percentage of observed scenes where the Wetness layer of the Tasselled Cap transform is above the threshold, i.e. where each pixel has been observed as ‘wet’ according to the TCI. Areas that retain surface water or wetness in the landscape during the dry season are potential areas of groundwater discharge and associated GDEs. The TCW threshold is set at -600 to calculate the percentage exceedance. This threshold is based on scientific judgment and is currently in the research/testing phase. It is based on Australian conditions and conservative in nature. The dry season, when surface runoff to streams and rainfall are minimal, is particularly useful for identifying and mapping groundwater-fed streams, springs and other ecosystems that rely on access to groundwater during periods of limited rainfall. The Upper Burdekin region was especially dry between May and October 2013, with low rainfall totals in the months preceding this dry season and overall below-average rainfall conditions (i.e. decline in rainfall residual mass). The TCW exceedance composite was classified into percentage intervals to distinguish areas that were wet for different proportions of time during the 2013 dry season. Field validation of the remote sensing data products would be required to confirm the preliminary identification of parts of the landscape where groundwater discharges to the surface and potentially supports GDEs. This release includes the classified WOfS summary statistic and classified TCW percentage exceedance composite (May-October 2013) data products for the McBride and Nulla basalt provinces in the Upper Burdekin region, North Queensland. <b>References: </b> Crist EP (1985) A TM Tasseled Cap equivalent transformation for reflectance factor data. Remote Sensing of Environment 17(3), 301–306. Doi: 10.1016/0034-4257(85)90102-6. Geoscience Australia (2018) Digital Earth Australia. Geoscience Australia, http://www.ga.gov.au/dea. Mueller, N., Lewis, A., Roberts, D., Ring, S., Melrose, R., Sixsmith, J., Lymburner, L., McIntyre, A., Tan, P., Curnow, S. and Ip, A. (2016) Water observations from space: Mapping surface water from 25 years of Landsat imagery across Australia. Remote Sensing of Environment 174, 341-352, ISSN 0034-4257. Queensland Government (2018) Groundwater dependent ecosystems, WetlandInfo 2014. Queensland Government, Brisbane, https://wetlandinfo.des.qld.gov.au/wetlands/ecology/aquatic-ecosystems-natural/groundwater-dependent/. Roberts D, Dunn B and Mueller N (2018) Open Data Cube Products Using High-Dimensional Statistics of Time Series. International Geoscience and Remote Sensing Symposium. Valencia, Spain: IEEE Geoscience and Remote Sensing Society.

  • This report presents key results of groundwater barometric response function development and interpretation from the Upper Burdekin Groundwater Project in North Queensland, 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. The Upper Burdekin Groundwater Project is a collaborative study between Geoscience Australia and the Queensland Government. It focuses on basalt groundwater resources in two geographically separate areas: the Nulla Basalt Province (NBP) in the south and the McBride Basalt Province (MBP) in the north. The NBP and MBP basalt aquifers are heterogeneous, fractured, vesicular systems. This report assesses how water levels in monitoring bores in the NBP and MBP respond to barometric pressure changes to evaluate the degree of formation confinement. The main process used to evaluate water level response to barometric pressure in this study is based on barometric efficiency (BE). The BE of a formation is calculated by dividing the change in monitoring bore water level by the causative barometric pressure change. Both parameters are expressed in the same units, so BE will typically be some fraction between zero and one. BE is not necessarily constant over time; the way BE changes following a theoretical step change in barometric pressure can be described using a barometric response function (BRF). BRFs were calculated in the time domain and plotted as BE against time lag for interpretation. The BRF shape was used to assess the degree of formation confinement. Although there is some uncertainty due to monitoring bore construction issues (including long effective screens) and potentially air or gas trapped in the saturated zone, all BRFs in the current project are interpreted to indicate unconfined conditions. This finding is supported by the identification of recharge at many monitoring bores through hydrograph analysis in other EFTF project components. We conclude that formations are likely to be unconfined at many project monitoring bores assessed in this study.

  • This technical report details the methods and results the drilling programs of the Upper Burdekin Groundwater 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 report was written by Queensland Government collaborators in the Department of Environment and Science, and is published here as supplied to Geoscience Australia at the conclusion of the project. The drilling program itself was conducted by the Department of Environment and Science as part of the Upper Burdekin Groundwater Project. A total of 17 holes were drilled in 2017-18 at 13 sites with a total combined depth of 943.2 metres. These comprise selected locations across both the Nulla Basalt Province and McBride Basalt Province. A network of 15 monitoring bores were constructed with two test holes backfilled and decommissioned.